Turkey has joined the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission for the first time since 2006, with a detachment of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons arriving at Malbork Air Base in Poland on 6 July.
The NATO Allied Air Command reported the arrival of four Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16s from 6th Main Jet Base at Bandırma, as well as a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules support aircraft and associated personnel.
“An 80-strong Turkish Air Force detachment [will] operate the fighters from Malbork until mid-September in support of NATO's Air Policing mission in the region. This is the second time the Turkish Air Force [has] contributed fighter jets to NATO Air Policing in the region, and the first deployment to Malbork, Poland,” the command said.
For its two-month rotation, the first in 15 years, the TuAF will support Spanish Air Force Eurofighters and Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) that have been flying out of Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania and Amari Air Base in Estonia respectively since May.
“Three allies from the south – Spain, Italy, and Turkey – are supporting NATO's Baltic Air Policing in the north, demonstrating alliance cohesion and solidarity,” the NATO Allied Air Command said, “Deployed in the Baltic region, they will work with each other and the hosting air forces to enhance co-operation and interoperability.”