Pre-mission team of the French Armed Forces arrived in Šiauliai Airfield

Pre-mission team of the French Armed Forces arrived in Šiauliai Airfield

On December 7 transport aircraft CASA CN 235 of the French Air Force with 12 members of pre-mission team landed in Šiauliai Airfield. The unit arrived to start preparations for the NATO IRA mission that will be transferred from German to French Air Contingent in the beginning of January of 2010. Yesterday nine trucks also brought to Šiauliai equipment and materiel for the mission.


Contingent of the French Air Force will be guarding the Baltic airspace with four fighters „Mirage" 2000 that will come from the permanent dislocation Air Base Cambrai (France) in the beginning of January.


The French Air Force will be ensuring security over the Baltics for a second time. The first deployment lasted from April to July of 2007.


French Air Contingent will take over security of the Baltic airspace from Germany for the third time on the mission. Half of the Germany's term on the mission two fourth generation „Eurofighter" fighters guarded Baltic skies, then they were replaced by two F-4 „Phantom".


Since 2004 when NATO members began sending their air assets and crews to the Baltic Air-policing mission, Belgian, Danish, British, Norwegian, Dutch, German, American, and Polish contingents ensured security of airspace above the Baltic States for three months each. Since spring 2006 Turkish, Spanish, Belgian, and French troops were deployed on the mission for four-month rotation cycle, Romanian Air Contingent were in charge of the mission for three months, Portuguese Air Contingent - for a month and a half, troops of Norway, Poland, Germany and the USA - for three months, Danes and Czechs - for four months. German Air Contingent currently in charge of the mission and the French who will take over the duty in the beginning of 2010 will also conduct the four-month rotation period.


Picture of the Lithuanian Air Force