U.S. aircraft heading to Poland to enhance NATO collective defense

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft will arrive at Łask Air Base, Poland, Feb. 10, 2022, to enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and support the NATO Air Policing mission.

F-15 Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, U.K., will work alongside the Polish and Danish F-16 aircraft already executing NATO’s Air Policing mission from Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania.  The extra fighters will bolster readiness and Allied deterrence and defense as Russia continues military build-up in and around Ukraine. The aircraft plan to work with other Allies throughout the region practicing air-to-air and air-to-ground training maneuvers in addition to the supporting the enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission.

The U.S. fighters will work closely with Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem (CAOC UE) based in Germany.  The CAOC is responsible for directing, tasking and coordinating air operations of allocated assets across Northern Europe in peace, crisis and conflict.  The multinational staffs are in close contact with Control and Reporting Centres, National Air Policing Centres and dedicated Quick Reaction Alert bases routinely to execute NATO’s Air Policing mission. 

“The deployment of U.S. F-15s to Poland elevates the collective defense capabilities on NATO’s Eastern flank and the enhanced Air Policing mission,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, Commander Allied Air Command and Commander U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa. “The commitment of U.S. aircraft and Airmen demonstrates the solidarity of the Alliance, as we continue to work together in unity to execute our defensive mission.”

Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented Assurance Measures with the goal to secure regional stability and assure the Allies. One tool in this set of measures is the concept of eAP, which demonstrates NATO's solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture in response to an evolving security situation. Located on NATO's eastern border, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania don't have fighter jets of their own, so other NATO Allies send rotating detachments of fighters to air bases in Estonia and Lithuania to keep the Baltic skies secure.