An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Air Force Featured Stories

US F-16s strengthen air policing mission with long-planned Poland deployment

  • Published
  • NATO Allied Air Command Public Affairs

U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons landed at Lask Air Base, Jan. 4 to work with the Polish Baltic air policing F-16s in Siauliai, Lithuania, and enhanced air policing Belgian F-16s in Amari, Estonia.

A Polish Air Force member watches an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, arrive at Łask Air Base, Poland, January 4, 2022.

The Belgian, Polish and U.S. fighters will practice advanced airborne maneuvers and work closely with Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem (CAOCUE) to enhance command and control procedures. 

This detachment in Eastern Europe is designed to improve interoperability among allies and to rehearse the rapid deployment of aircraft to alternate bases.

"The supplemental U.S. fighters will provide improved capabilities in the region and demonstrate a seamless integration into the long-standing Baltic and enhanced air policing missions," said Brig. Gen. Joel Carey, Allied Air Command deputy chief of staff operations. "These deployments demonstrate the alliance's ability to rapidly and effectively deploy assets to vital regions to assure partners and safeguard allied airspace."

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, marshalls an aircraft at Łask Air Base, Poland, January 4, 2022.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, marshals an aircraft at Łask Air Base, Poland, Jan. 4, 2022. Enhanced air policing is a specific assurance measure to demonstrate NATO’s solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Ali Stewart)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, sits on an apron after arriving at Łask Air Base, Poland, January 4, 2022.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, sits on an apron after arriving at Łask Air Base, Poland, Jan. 4, 2022. Wing units routinely train for rapid response operations, keeping Airmen, equipment and capabilities ready for any contingency. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Capt. Kevyn Kaler)

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, greet each other after arriving at Łask Air Base, Poland, January 4, 2022.

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, greet each other after arriving at Łask Air Base, Poland, Jan. 4, 2022. Wing units routinely train for rapid response operations, keeping Airmen, equipment and capabilities ready for any contingency. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Ali Stewart)


The U.S. fighters will complete routine air policing qualification prior to participating in air policing activities. CAOCUE oversees all air policing missions in the Baltic Region and directs any scrambles against unknown aircraft.

Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented assurance measures with the goal to assure the allies along the eastern flank. One tool in this set of measures is the concept of enhanced air policing, which demonstrates NATO's solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture in response to an evolving security situation.