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Sweden, Finland to Take Part in NATO’s Baltic Airspace Exercise

S ource: ERR

NATO forces will hold its 11th airspace policing exercise in Baltic skies on March 27 and 28 in conjunction with Finnish and Swedish air forces.

The units will practice establishing contact with airplanes that appear to lack communications and escorting such aircraft from sovereign airspace into NATO’s area of responsibility, midair transfer of escort procedures and coordination between air traffic control centers.

On the first day, a plane will be escorted from Swedish airspace to Lithuania and the next day the same scenario will be repeated in Finnish airspace.

The Swedish and Finnish planes will be responsible for detecting the planes, assuming control of them and escorting them.

NATO air policing fighters will take over above international wters and escort the plane to a safe landing site. A Lithuanian transport aircraft C-27 Spartan will play the role of the unidentified plane.

A rescue operation will be staged on Estonian soil on the first day, which will simulate a search for pilots who have ejected from their aircraft near Ämari air base.

Along with Estonian Air Force personnel and the Police and Border Guard Aviation Corps, the airspace monitoring center in Karmelava, Lithuania, and a Norwegian rescue center will also take part. Estonian air force members will serve as the “downed” pilots.

The first airspace policing exercise in the Baltics was held by NATO in October 2008.

Participating planes include German air force F-4 Phantom fighters, Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters, Finnish F-18 Hornet fighters and a Lithuanian transport aircraft, a C-27 Spartan.

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