Czech Baltic mission ends, last Gripen returning today


10. 01. 2020 • 09:59

The Czech four-month Baltic allied air policing mission ended with the return of the last part of the Czech military task unit from the Amari base, Estonia, Tomas Maruscak, from the General Staff press section, has told ČTK. The arrival of the last JAS-39 Gripen fighter, which stayed at the Siauliai airport in Lithuania due to a technical defect last week, is scheduled today. 


The first part of the Czech unit and four of the five Gripens returned home last week already.

Czech pilots with the JAS-39 Gripen fighters operated at the Amari base from early September. They protected the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia within the NATO air and missile defence system. The Czech pilots flew 13 sorties, which is a standard number, according to previous information.

They took off, for instance, if some aircraft did not communicate, did not meet the conditions for a flight over territorial waters and did not use identification codes. The Gripen pilots had to identify them.

Besides, Czech pilots spent hundreds of hours in training flights. A total of 75 soldiers took part in the mission. They fulfilled their tasks together with the Danish and Belgian air forces' F-16s based at the Siauliai air base.

The Czech soldiers have been by the Polish pilots with their F-16s at the Amari air base as of December 31.

The Estonian mission was the sixth allied air policing of the Czech air force. Apart from the Baltics, Czech fighters previously operated in Iceland.