Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning and Typhoon aircraft have been conducting air combat training with NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force partners in the Baltic Sea Region.
The intensive 3-day exercise was conducted in Estonian and Lithuanian airspace with fighter jets from Belgium, Spain, Finland, France and Germany, demonstrating the collaboration and cohesion of NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force air forces.
In the scenario, the UK aircraft conducted a variety of training serials in attacking and defensive roles. Initially, they operated alongside Belgian F-16s to practice defending the airspace from simulated attacks by Spanish F-18s; Finnish F-18s and German Typhoons.
On the final day of the exercise, the UK Lightnings and Typhoons switched roles to become the aggressor aircraft. Their task was to conduct simulated attacks on a Lithuanian airfield. F-18s from the Spanish Air Force and Mirage 2000s from the French Air Force attempted to defend the airfield.
The aircraft were supported by a UK Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, which provided air-to-air refuelling to extend the duration of the air combat sorties. The primary objective of the training was to practice protecting the airspace of the Baltic States and to refine communication and management procedures.
The training was competitive and hard-fought, it provided all participants with an ever-greater understanding of each other’s capabilities and tactics. The exercise was one of a series of NATO exercises in the region to ensure the alliance’s preparedness to respond to threats.