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Malbork. F-35, F16 and Mig-29 fighter flight shows. Defense of our eastern border in practice

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They guard the airspace 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NATO fighter pilots have had a lot of work to do since the outbreak of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, especially over the Baltic Sea. This is where the Russians often provoke and fly too close to the airspace of the alliance. What does it look like up close – TVN24 reporter Artur Molęda watched.

– Not all of us realize that our pilots are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can’t see it, and that’s very important. We are the eastern flank FOR THIS. The fact that our airspace is protected not only by our planes, but also by our allies, is very important – says Lieutenant Colonel Magdalena Busz from the General Command of the Armed Forces Branches, interviewed by TVN24 reporter Artur Molęda on board the military CASA.

The machine flew at a cruising speed of 450 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers above sea level. From her deck, a TVN24 reporter watched NATO fighters that train together, patrol and defend our airspace. – Today we are observing F-16 aircraft of the 31st Tactical Air Base, MiG-29 aircraft from the 22nd Tactical Air Base, the Royal Dutch Air Force component on F-35 fighters, as well as the French component on Rafale aircraft – explained Lieutenant Colonel Busz.

The Dutch are stationed in Malbork

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The aforementioned eight Dutch F-35 fighters have been temporarily stationed at the 22nd Tactical Air Base in Malbork since the beginning of February. Four of them oversee the airspace of NATO’s eastern flank as part of the Air Policing mission, while the others take part in the allied training program to increase NATO’s presence on the eastern flank and promote cooperation between its members.

– The base in Malbork has become one of the most important locations on the aviation map of Poland – emphasized the Inspector of the Air Force Brigadier General Ireneusz Nowak.

These planes take part in daily training with the Polish Air Force, but also in Operation Air Shielding, which is related to what happened on Ukraine February 24 last year. Gen. Nowak emphasizes that this is an extremely valuable lesson for the Polish Air Force. – This is actually the second ferrying of fifth generation aircraft. The first was last year’s transfer of F-22 aircraft to the base in Łask. This year we have the opportunity to fly together with the Dutch and it really gives us many conclusions on how to transform the Polish Air Force in the future. The more so that we are also waiting for F-35 aircraft in the short term – he noted.

Since the war broke out in Ukraine, we’ve had plenty of Russian provocations

The work of the Polish Air Force has changed since last February and full-scale aggression Russia to Ukraine.

– Patrols and combat duty have been increased. Pilots always have a lot of work to do, but what is happening behind our eastern border forces increased vigilance – explained Lt. Col. Magdalena Busz to TVN24.

“Our pilots are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year”21.03.TVN24

Russians often fly to our border, their transponders are turned off, they don’t have complex flight plans. All this triggers an alarm in the base and the fighters of NATO’s eastern flank are scrambled.

The pair of pilots on duty have several minutes to take off for the plane that will violate NATO airspace. – We fly as fast as possible to intercept a given space violator (…) Sometimes we are picked up to planes that have no communication with another, the pilot has no communication and needs support – explains “Kelps”, the F-16 pilot.

Last year, member states’ fighters intercepted Russian aircraft approaching NATO airspace as many as 570 times. Most of these incidents took place over the Baltic Sea.

– We can expect various acts of provocation. Besides, we are here to provide stability and security. To show this potential enemy that we are ready, because what we do is not only such daily combat readiness, but also this function of deterring and showing that every hostile action or hostile action will be met with a response – pointed out General Nowak .

Main photo source: TVN24



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