The Baltic nations Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have been members of NATO since 2004, but because of limited own capacities, the Alliance handles the air policing in the Baltics. This means that the other NATO partners alternate on managing the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in the Baltics.
Norway held the QRA responsibility from 1 May to 31 August 2015. The Air Force deployed around 65 soldiers and other persons to Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. During the four months, almost 300 Norwegians took part in the QRA mission.
The mission involved four Norwegian F-16 fighter jets, of which two were constantly ready to act. The Air Force also sent three liaison officers to the Control and Reporting Centre in Karmelava, Lithuania.During the four-month period, Norwegian pilots had 30 scrambles with a total of 50 identifications of Russian aircrafts outside Baltic airspace.
In addition to the Norwegian force, the United Kingdom contributed from its established Ämari Air Base in Estonia. Belgian F-16 fighters placed in Poland supported too.
Norway has previously taken part in air policing in the Baltics – in 2005 and 2007/08.