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Ukraine Response: U.S. Deploys Additional Aircraft to Poland and Baltics

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is deploying more aircraft to Poland and the Baltics in response to the Russian “incursion” into the Ukraine, according to Armed Forces Press Service reports.

The U.S. is planning to deploy F-16 Fighting Falcons to Poland. While the U.S. Air Force currently has 10 personnel stationed at Lask Air Base in central Poland to support quarterly rotations of U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and F-16 aircraft, there has been no permanent jet presence.

The U.S. is planning to deploy F-16 Fighting Falcons to Poland. While the U.S. Air Force currently has 10 personnel stationed at Lask Air Base in central Poland to support quarterly rotations of U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and F-16 aircraft, there has been no permanent jet presence. The aircraft typically undertake two weeks of flight operations during each quarterly rotation, supporting joint training with the Polish air force. The airmen within the aviation detachment, or AVDET, are part of the 52nd Fighter Wing out of Spangdahlem, Germany.

Hagel Poland Ukraine

U.S. Tech. Sgt. Brian Williams, Aviation Detachment, 52nd Operations Group NCO in charge of client systems shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Jan. 31, 2014, at Powidz Air Base, Poland. The AVDET’s mission supports Poland’s continued defense modernization and standardization with the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The U.S. is augmenting forces in the region. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano

While the decision to increase the size of the AVDET and base F-16s in Poland has been confirmed, the size of the increase has not.

“No decision on numbers yet,” Warren said. “That decision has not been finalized.”

“No decision on numbers yet,” Warren said. “That decision has not been finalized.”

U.S., Polish F-16s

U.S. and Polish F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft wait while their ground crews conduct end-of-runway checks before a mission May 13, 2013, at Lask Air Base, Poland. Nearly 100 U.S. Airmen with the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard traveled to the base for a two-week deployment in support of Aviation Detachment Rotation 13-2. The U.S. is planning to deploy more F-16s to Poland. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kenya Shiloh

The DoD also reinforced a four-ship detachment of F-15C Eagles deployed to Lithuania for an ongoing NATO air policing mission. For the past decade, allies have provided on-call aircraft on a rotational basis to identify and respond to violations of Baltic airspace. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Turkey and the Czech Republic have all provided aircraft detachments over the course of the mission. The U.S. rotation runs from January through April 2014, and the four Eagles already deployed have been joined by six more, along with a KC-135 Stratotanker. The aircraft, normally based at Royal Air Force base Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, deployed to Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania.