Italy's Aeronautica Militare is taking over from the Belgians next week. This is the first time personnel and equipment of the Italian Air Force are stationed in Estonia. The Italians have contributed to the air policing mission before, but out of the Šiauliai air base in Lithuania.
The jets and staff of the Belgian Air Force currently stationed at Estonia's Ämari airbase will hand over to the arriving Italians in a formal ceremony next Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.
The Italians are taking over for the next four months. They will guard the Baltic states' northern airspace with their four Eurofighter Typhoon jets. The home base of the unit is the Gioia del Colle air base in the Province of Bari in Apulia in southern Italy.
In addition to guarding the Baltic airspace out of Ämari, the Italians will carry out training flights for its own staff as well as with other allied personnel in the region, the ministry said.
The Italian Air Force has previously participated twice in the Baltic air policing mission, but out of the Šiauliai air base in Lithuania.
Danish jets taking over from the U.S. in Šiauliai
At the same time as the Italians are taking over in Estonia, the U.S. is handing over to the Danish Air Force in Lithuania, where the Danes will take over the southern end of the air policing mission in Šiauliai next week.
The Danes have already arrived and are now settling in, BNS was told by a spokesman for the Lithuanian Air Force.
Denmark's F-16 aircraft are replacing the United States' F-15 fighter jets that have guarded the Baltic states' airspace in the south since September last year.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: BNS, ERR