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Malbork. Show of Polish and Dutch fighters

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At the 22nd Tactical Air Base in Malbork, as part of the day for the media, pilot flights on MiG-29 aircraft and Dutch F-35 fighters took place. – Every day, NATO machines appear over the Polish sky, which perform coordinated operations, show our potential adversary that we are ready, that any action from that side will be met with a response – said Deputy Inspector of the Air Force Brigadier General Ireneusz Nowak.

Eight Dutch F-35 fighters are temporarily stationed at the 22nd Tactical Air Base.

General Nowak and the commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Lieutenant General Dennis Luyt answered journalists’ questions on Wednesday about the presence of about 190 Dutch soldiers and eight F-35 fighters in Malbork as part of the mission.

“We’re here to make sure we’re protecting the airspace.”

Dutch F-35 aircraft have been divided into two teams: the first of four machines supervises the airspace of the eastern flank FOR THIS as part of the Air Policing mission, where they can, inter alia, intercept other aircraft if their pilot refuses to identify or approaches the airspace of the state without permission. The second group of another four machines is used in the allied training program to increase NATO’s presence on the eastern flank and promote cooperation between its members.

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– Poland is a frontline state. We have an escalating conflict with our neighbor. Therefore, NATO conducts Air Policing to show its readiness, its level of integration and readiness to respond, among others in the air domain – said Brigadier General Ireneusz Nowak at the 22nd Tactical Air Base in Malbork.

– Every day, NATO machines appear over the Polish sky, which perform coordinated operations, show our potential enemy that we are ready and that any action from the other side will be met with a response – assured Gen. Nowak.

MiG-29 fighter during Media Day at the 22nd Tactical Air Base in MalborkPAP/Adam Warżawa

Lieutenant General Dennis Luyt stressed that his troops would be stationed in Malbork for two months. – We are here to make sure that we provide airspace protection. The opportunity to do this together with our Polish friends is very important to us – he said.

“This is a very valuable training for us”

According to General Nowak, four Dutch aircraft are intended for daily training. – They fly together not only with Polish MiG-29s that are in Malbork, but they also fly with F-16 planes that are stationed at the 32nd Tactical Air Base in Łask – noted the general. He added that the Dutch F-35s also practice with American planes that are in the airspace as part of Air Policing.

– This is a very valuable training for us – general Nowak assured. He stressed that they were also interested in looking at the Dutch “mobility”. – This component of the Dutch Air Force has been deployed here. He built a temporary infrastructure. We’re interested in how they get that homing capability and how they maintain it.”

MiG-29 fighter during Media Day at the 22nd Tactical Air Base in MalborkPAP/Adam Warżawa

General Nowak on intercepting Russian machines: it’s nothing unusual

General Nowak also referred to Monday’s incident, when Dutch F-35s intercepted and escorted three Russian planes from a distance (Il-20M, which flew with two Su-27 fighters), which approached the Polish air defense zone.

Dutch Ministry of Defense: Our F-35 intercepted three Russian planes near Polish airspace

– It was nothing unusual. Such interceptions of Russian machines that appear from the Königsberg District and fly over the Baltic Sea were very frequent. Our F-16 crews do it. This time it was with the participation of Dutch F-35s and this is their role – noted the general. He stressed that Russian planes “constantly fly without their transponders turned on, which is a threat to civilian traffic.”

He assured that in such situations, the time from the alarm signal to the time of take-off of the planes from the Malbork base is 15 minutes. – Planes are flying towards an unidentified group. They intercept it if they come within visual contact distance. They identify these planes. They show up, they show the armament and in this way it sends a clear message to the crews of these foreign planes that they are under control, he stressed.

MiG-29 fighter during Media Day at the 22nd Tactical Air Base in MalborkPAP/Adam Warżawa

Since 2014, when the NATO command decided to strengthen the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, contingents from France (Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000), BelgiumNetherlands, PortugalTurkey (F-16 Fighting Falcon) and Italian.

General Nowak also announced that the production of 32 F-35 fighters that will be delivered to Poland is “proceeding according to schedule”. – Our planes will leave the production line in July next year. They will stay in the United States for about two years and will be used there to train Polish pilots, he said. He noted that in January 2026, the first Polish F-35 aircraft will be redeployed to Poland.

Main photo source: PAP/Adam Warżawa

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