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Belgium turns over Baltic Air Policing mission

30 Apr 2020 19:24


The Belgian Air Force wrapped up its seven-month leadership of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, based out of Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. Spanish and British air force contingents will take over from Belgium. Spain is the lead nation for the mission. During their tenure, the Belgian F-16 Fighting Falcons scrambled to intercept in Baltic skies air traffic that wasn’t responding to hails from air traffic controllers. Air policing is a peacetime activity intended to safeguard the skies over Alliance territory. It is conducted 365 days a year. NATO has established missions like Baltic Air Policing, where Allied air forces sending planes to patrol the airspace of the three Baltic States, who do not have fighter jets of their own. Please read our webstory for more information on the Baltic Air Policing mission turnover in Lithuania. Footage includes shots of Belgian F-16s taxiing and taking off, shots of flags of Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom at a handover ceremony, and interviews with Major Sammuel Vanophem, Commander, 31 Squadron Belgian Air Force, and Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, UK Royal Air Force.


1. (00:00) VARIOUS SHOTS OF BELGIAN PILOT INSPECTING F-16 IN HANGAR 2. (00:21) BELGIAN PILOT CLIMBING INTO COCKPIT OF F-16 AND PUTTING ON HELMET 3. (00:35) VARIOUS SHOTS OF F-16 TAXIING OUT OF HANGAR ONTO RUNWAY 4. (00:58) MULTIPLE SHOTS OF F-16s TAKING OFF 5. (01:56) BELGIAN AIR FORCE PERSONNEL FOLDS FLAG 6. (02:06) SPANISH AND UK AIRMEN HOIST FLAGS 7. (02:18) VARIOUS SHOTS OF SPANISH, BRITISH AND BELGIAN COMMANDERS AT HANDOVER CEREMONY 8. (02:28) CLOSE UP ON BELGIAN AIR FORCE BALTIC AIR POLICING COMMEMORATION SIGN 9. (02:43) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Major Sammuel Vanophem, Squadron Commander, 31 Squadron Wing, Belgian Air Force ‘It’s NATO’s duty to deliver security and peace, any place, any time. So in this difficult period it is very, very important that the Alliance continues operating, planning, executing their current missions. And despite those challenging times for everybody actually, we proved that we could fulfil our mission until the end as requested by NATO.’ 10. (03:13) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, Royal Air Force ‘It’s great to be back in Lithuania where we’ve been before. We have many Lithuanian friends, and great to work with our NATO partners, Lithuania, Spain and France particularly, as we’re taking on the mantle and the high standards set by the Belgians who’ve done a good job and we have big shoes to fill. Because NATO air policing is our core business, it’s a high priority for UK defence, and COVID is obviously constraining everyone’s activities globally at the moment, but it’s really important that we work through those issues to maintain our core tasks. We’ve obviously had to conform to Lithuanian protocols and adhere to their processes, which has been actually quite straight forward, very similar to the UK. So it just shows you how adaptable the Royal Air Force is to any situation.’

Media tags

Date filming
30 Apr 2020 12:00
End date filming
30 Apr 2020 12:00
Šiauliai Air Base
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