Czech Gripens guarding the Baltic airspace have performed 9 sharp take-offs and flown a total of 200 hours since the beginning of the mission in September, reports iDNES.cz. The alpha scrambles consisted of identifying aircraft that failed to establish contact with the air traffic controllers, off-schedule planes, and aircraft that were not receiving radio signals.
As planned, since the mission is halfway, the old Czech forces which were deployed in September have been replaced by a new task force of 30 soldiers to complete the mission at the air base in the remaining two months. The participating Gripen aircraft and the task force will return to Caslav Air Base in the first or second week of January 2020. There will be a total of 90 soldiers in the Czech Air Force contingent for this mission.
“Our mission in Estonia is only halfway through, but clearly, we have made an impact. We are helping our NATO partners, and we may do it again in future,” said Czech said Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar.
The Czech Air Force’s soldiers commenced their Baltic mission at the Estonian Air Base Ämari in September first week. The Czech Gripens have already defended the Baltic air space twice in 2009 and 2012. They were also deployed on an air policing mission over Iceland in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
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