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World Aviation Defense & Security News - France
France sends four Mirage 2000 fighter jets in Lithuania for NATO air-policing mission
Four French Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter jets arrived at the Lithuanian Air Force Air Base in Siauliai, northern Lithuania, on Sunday August 28 before beginning NATO's four-month air-policing mission in the Baltic nations. The jets made a successful landing before 6 p.m. on Sunday, Ieva Gulbiniene, public relations officer at the air base, told the local media BNS Lithuania.
France sends four Mirage 2000 fighter jets in Lithuania for air policing mission 640 001A FAF Mirage 2000-5F fighter jet landing in Lithuania on August 28, 2016
(Credit: Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania)
Portuguese Air Force soldiers in Šiauliai who protected Baltic airspace for four months will be replaced by France, a new lead nation of the Air Policing mission in the Baltic States. The French Air Force will carry out mission with four Mirage 2000 fighters . France will be augmented by Germany from Estonia with Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

This is the fifth time the French Air Force contributes to NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic States. French soldiers already conducted mission in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Current French rotation , most of which will arrive from continuous deployment place at Luxeuil Air Base in the South of France will include 100 soldiers – pilots, technicians, medical personnel, support groups, communication and other specialists.

Portuguese Air Force carried out Air Policing mission with four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters. The mission involved around 100 troops. During the mission Portuguese soldiers have also communicated with Šiauliai city society, visited Šiauliai infant home, arranged schoolchildren and student tours.

NATO countries started sending troops and jets to protect Baltic airspace since March 2004, when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO. Since then 17 NATO allies demonstrating Alliance solidarity participated in the NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic States. The French contingent mission will be the 42th since its beginning in 2004.