Baltic Air Policing
On May 1 the JAS 39C/D Gripens of the Czech air force’s 211.tl took over NATO’s Baltic Air Policing detachment, which provides a two-aircraft, 24-hour, 15-minute readiness armed quick reaction alert (QRA) for the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The four-month deployment of four Gripens to Siauliai air base in Lithuania represents the type’s first out-of-country operational tasking.
On May 21 the Gripens undertook their first live “Alpha” scramble, intercepting a German-registered lightplane that violated the no-fly buffer zone between Lithuania and Russia. At the same time, with just 14 aircraft on the squadron’s strength, 211.tl also maintain a 24-hour QRA commitment at its home base at Caslav, highlighting the Gripen’s reliability and serviceability.