F-16 fighter aircraft flown by pilots of the Belgian Air Component stationed at the Amari air base are to carry out training flights above Estonia today.
The aircraft are to fly over Estonia in areas of low-altitude flights and will do so at an altitude of at least 152 meters and preferably away from populated areas, headquarters of the Estonian defense forces told BNS.
NATO member states allocate specific areas of their air space for the training and exercises of the air force, including low-altitude flights. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also allocated specific regions of their air space for carrying out low-altitude flights. The flights are performed in agreement with the Estonian Civil Aviation Administration and the air traffic service.
According to a decision of NATO, air forces of NATO member states based on rotation participate in the air policing mission of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian air space since March 2004, when the Baltic countries joined the NATO.
The Baltic air policing mission is part of the NATO Smart Defense concept, the aim of which is to save the resources of the member states of the alliance by contributing together to different capabilities.
A contingent of the Belgian Air Force on September 5 took over the Baltic air policing mission from the Spanish Air Force. At present the Baltic air policing mission is led by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters deployed to Siauliai, Lithuania, and the Belgian F-16s in Amari, Estonia.