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The UK will contribute up to 1,000 troops to a high readiness force and deploy four RAF Typhoon jets for air policing in the Baltic States to boost NATO’s collective security.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced that the UK will be the lead nation for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter.
Speaking at the NATO Defence Minister’s meeting in Brussels Mr Fallon said that the UK will contribute manpower to two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania and to force integration units in the three Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. The VJTF is a high readiness, multinational force which will act as a ‘Spearhead force’, forming NATO’s first response in the face of aggression.
The UK will also send four RAF Typhoon jets to support the NATO Baltic Air policing mission again in 2015. The Typhoons will operate alongside Norwegian aircraft between May and August 2015, working to secure NATO’s airspace over the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania which do not have their own air defence fighters. The Typhoons will operate at NATO’s request from Amari Airbase in Estonia.
Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:
NATO’s credibility in the face of the security challenges we face depends on everyone playing their part to implement the decisions taken at Wales last year.
The Readiness Action Plan demonstrates the Alliance’s commitmentto reinforce our collective defence but strong words must be backed up with firm action. That is why I am delighted to announce that the UK will lead the VJTF in 2017 and contribute to the Baltic Air Policing mission again in order to put the Plan into practice.
Last month the Prime Minister announced that the UK will make an even greater contribution to NATO Assurance Measures in Eastern Europe. During 2015 around 4,000 UK troops will participate in NATO exercises in 2015. This includes a substantial contribution to Exercise DRAGON in Poland in September, the largest live NATO exercise in Eastern Europe this year, which will involve around 1,000 UK troops and a number of armoured vehicles.