The Czech Air Force finally concluded their 4-month long NATO mission to protect the Baltic airspace of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, when the last of the Task Force returned to Čáslav air base on January 9th, 2020.
“The mission does not end until the entire task force returns to their base. Today we can say that we have successfully completed our sixth mission abroad,” said Colonel Petr Tománek, Commanding Officer of the 21st Air Base.
The Gripen fighters were off to a great start with a total of 200 flight hours and 9 sharp take-offs within just a month of the mission. Apart from Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) patrols, the Czech Gripen pilots also conducted training flights in the Baltic airspace like in-flight refueling exercises and low-level flights above sea. They also participated in joint missions including Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) as part of two alliance groups led by Canada and Germany in Latvia and Lithuania, respectively.
“We cooperated with our alliances both in the air and on the ground,” explains LTC Pavel Pavlík, Commanding Office of the Task Force.
The Air Policing mission commenced on the first week of September, 2019, and was the third Baltic mission and the sixth international mission for the Czech Gripen fighters. The Czech Air Force had sent five Gripens and 75 air and ground personnel, mostly from the 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav to Estonia for this mission.