RAF & Luftwaffe: joint air policing in the Baltics this summer

Eurofighters of the German Luftwaffe will join the Royal Air Force squadron for NATO air policing in the Baltics during July this year according to the German Air Operations Command (AOC) in Kalkar. The plan is to conduct joint Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) flights from the Šiauliai base in Lithuania. In reverse Eurofighters of the RAF should be integrated for some time in the German contingent for air policing between September 2020 and May 2021. „The extent of the parcticipation has still to be detailed“ a spokesperson of the AOC told the author. 

Eurofighters aka Typhoons of the Royal Air Force at Šiauliai, Lithuania
Eurofighters Typhoons of the Royal Air Force at Šiauliai, Lithuania – foto: Royal Air Force

This statement leads to the huge hurdels for a proper jointness between RAF and Luftwaffe for Eurofighter operations. One crucial factor: The development gap between both Eurofighter fleets. The armament concept of the RAF jets is much more advanced than those of the German Air Force. For example Royal Air Force Eurofighters has been launched with the Meteor missle operationally for the first time during a Quick Reaction Alert mission in December 2018. A step the Germans are faraway from. Also the partners are using different IT-systems. Until now a mutual service routine on the jets is impossible. One important advance would be the working out of a consolidated „NATO log book“ for the jets. To redress this problems Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force started the Eurofighter Interoperability Enhancement Programm in late 2018. The latest step on it was a twinning agreement between the RAF Eurofighter squadron at Coningsby and Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 “Steinhoff‘ in 2019. Both squadrons are mainly responsive for the Eurofighter training within the respective air force. The agreement should ramp up the interchange of pilots and technicians to streamline British and German Eurofighter fleet operation.