Czech fighters fly 13 sorties within their Baltic Air Policing |

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Czech fighters fly 13 sorties within their Baltic Air Policing

Czech fighters fly 13 sorties within their Baltic Air Policing

Czech fighter pilots flew 13 sorties within their participation in the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, having also spent hundreds of hours in air in training flights, the unit's representatives told journalists.

Czech pilots of the Gripen fighters will be responsible for the air policing over the three Baltic countries till the end of the year. The fighters are scheduled to fly back in early January.

Czech pilots with the JAS-39 Gripen fighters have been to the Estonian Amari base since early September.

"The transfer of the operational task is planned for December 31," commander Colonel Pavel Pavlik said. "The flight back of the Gripens and the first part of the personnel is to take place on January 2," he added.

The second part of the unit will return one week later. The Czech soldiers will be replaced at the air base by the Polish pilots with their F-16s. During the almost four months, Czech pilots flew 13 sorties. In the past, the allies mainly acted over Russian planes.

The sorties mostly relate to the aircraft that do not communicate, do not have their flight responders on or fly without a valid flight plan.

Pavlik said the pilots had also had training flights. "We cooperate with Alliance counterparts in the air and on the ground," he added.

The pilots spent hundreds of hours in their joint training missions, cooperating with the units of allied advance presence to which NATO deployed them over Russian threats.

The pilots also train flights in low altitudes over the sea in the Baltics. Along with Czech pilots, there are also the Belgian and Danish pilots with their F-16s from the Siauliai air base in Lithuania.

For the Czech air force, the Estonian mission is the sixth allied air policing. Along with the Baltics, Czech fighters also operated in Iceland.

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