Belgium set to take lead of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission
A Belgian contingent with four F-16 fighter jets will patrol Baltic airspace from Lithuania starting September, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.
The Belgians will take over the lead of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission from the Portuguese and Spanish Air Forces in an official changeover ceremony at the Šiauliai airbase on Friday.
This is the fourth Baltic air-policing deployment for Belgium in Lithuania. Also, the country's fighter-jets have thrice carried out the mission from Estonia.
Portugal in May deployed four fighter-jets to Šiauliai and Spain augmented the mission with six fighters.
Fighter-jets from NATO member states have been patrolling the skies over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on a rotational basis since the three nations, which do not have fighter aircraft of their own, joined the Alliance in 2004.