News story: UK jets and warship to bolster Baltic security

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  1. Royal Air Force Typhoon jets and the Royal Navy warship HMS Iron Duke will deploy to the Baltic this month as part of the UK’s commitment to eastern European allies.

    Four Typhoons will take the lead role of the Baltic Air Policing mission which aims to safeguard the safety of NATO partners and wider Europe.

    Based at Amari air base in Estonia, the crews will operate in a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role.

    As part of standing arrangements within NATO, members of the alliance without their own air policing assets are assisted by others which contribute on a four-month cycle.

    The UK deployed Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania in spring 2014 and to Estonia between May and August 2015. They will operate alongside the Portuguese air force around the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

    At sea, HMS Iron Duke is due to return to the Baltic region after participating in the bi-annual, multinational Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland. The Type 23 frigate is half way through a six-month deployment to northern Europe as part of a multinational NATO task group where she has taken part in exercises and operations. She is available to NATO for a range of tasks including diplomatic visits to countries in the region.

    HMS Iron Duke. Crown Copyright.

    Later this year Iron Duke is due to operate in the Baltic region with up to four other Royal Navy ships, including HMS Ocean and HMS Pembroke, in the maritime exercise Baltops 16.

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

    British planes protecting Baltic skies alongside our warship patrols and troops exercising, show how serious we are about the security of our eastern European partners.

    With a defence budget that is increasing for the first time in six years, we can use our forces to keep Britain and our allies safe.

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