NATO fighters intercept two US Air Force B-52 bombers over Baltic in joint exercise

Royal Air Force / Twitter

Allied fighters deployed on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission recently carried out a simulated intercept of two B-52 strategic bombers from the US Air Force’s Bomber Task Force. 

The Royal Air Force (RAF) shared pictures of the exercise involving British Typhoon and French Rafale fighters, one French A300 MRTT tanker, and two USAF B-52 strategic bombers. One unidentified

NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission, a rotating mission aimed at protecting the airspace of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, has proven to be a critical element in the alliance’s collective defense strategy. 

The RAF’s 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) is deployed to Amari Airbase until August 2023 to undertake NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission.  

The mission started in 2004 when the Baltic States joined NATO. It is one of the main missions of NATO air forces, which rotate to protect Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian airspaces from incursions, as these countries have no airborne capability of their own. 

The French Air Force actively participated in the increased deployment known as NATO Air Shielding as a reaction to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. On February 24, 2022, hours after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, France sent two Dassault Rafale fighters to Poland as part of NATO’s Enhanced Vigilance Activities (EVA) mission. Since then, French fighters have continued to patrol Polish airspace regularly.   

The Bomber Task Force, operating the USAF’s strategic bomber fleet of B-1B Lancers, B-2A Spirits, and B-52H Stratofortresses, has been engaged in various joint exercises and missions with NATO allies, functioning as both a deterrent and a source of diplomatic reassurance. 

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