10:24 GMT24 June 2021
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    Four German warplanes currently protecting the Baltic states' airspace will be replaced with Belgian Air Force fighter jets early next month, media reports said.

    The ceremonial meeting on handing over the mission defending the Baltic states' airspace is due to be held at the Amari airbase near the Estonian capital Tallinn on January 7, the  press service of the Estonian Air Force reported on Friday.

    "The Belgian Air Force pilots and its four F-16 fighters will replace the German Air Force's contingent of four Eurofighter Typhoon planes, which have been guarding the airspace of the Baltic countries since August 25," the press service said.

     F-16 attached to the Belgian air force which will patrol the Baltic states' airspace . file photo
    © AFP 2021 / PETRAS MALUKAS
    F-16 attached to the Belgian air force which will patrol the Baltic states' airspace . file photo

    It added that the ceremony will be attended by Lieutenant-General Riho Terras, Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, who will award medals to German pilots for participating in the air defense mission.

    The pilots of the German Air Force and four Eurofighter Typhoons began patrolling the skies over the Baltic states in what is their fourth rotation mission.

    The Baltic countries have no planes capable of conducting air patrols, and so NATO countries have been taking on the role since April 2004.
    The warplanes are based near the Lithuanian city of Siauliai, while the Amari Airbase serves as an additional platform for the placement of NATO aircraft.

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    Tags:
    warplanes, ceremony, airspace, airbase, F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon, Germany, Belgium
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