UK To Deploy Eurofighter Typhoons To Poland To ‘Defend’ Its Ally From Russia; NATO Sends AWACS To Lithuania

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the UK will deploy its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets in Poland to “defend” its Eastern European ally from Russia.

It’s interesting to note that earlier in August 2023, the British government had offered to train Ukrainian pilots on the Typhoon. The British already have Typhoon jets stationed in Romania.

They routinely fly escort missions for RC-135W Elint/Sigint aircraft that surreptitiously participate in the Ukraine conflict. The British want to show they are itching for a fight with Russia but are clever enough to back out of one when they see it coming.

Grant Shapps earlier statement that Britain will send its troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian soldiers is a case in point. UK PM Rishi Sunak eloquently backtracked on the intent with impressive alacrity.

Former British officials, sipping scotch in the comfort of their homes, also cannot resist grandstanding, even when such grandstanding involves the massacre of Ukrainian citizens.

In a column published in The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, the former UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace advised the leadership of Ukraine to actively encourage young people to enlist in order to prevent a slowdown in the counter-offensive.

AWACS In Romania

NATO has deployed Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance planes to Lithuania, which signifies a crucial step in enhancing regional security. These aircraft are tasked with closely monitoring Russian military activities near the alliance’s borders.

According to NATO’s official press release, the two E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft touched down at the Siauliai Air Base on September 28 and 29, 2023. 

The AWACS aircraft are poised to commence their reconnaissance flights over NATO territory in the upcoming days, embarking on a mission expected to span several weeks. 

Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White said, “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has increased our focus on the security environment in the Baltic Sea region.”

He further underscored the significance of NATO’s AWACS capabilities, which can detect aircraft and missiles at distances spanning hundreds of kilometers, serving as a crucial early warning system for the alliance. 

White thanked Lithuania for hosting these aircraft, highlighting the nation’s valuable contribution to the security efforts.

These AWACS aircraft, originating from their home base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, are part of an elite NATO fleet of 14 surveillance planes. They are purposefully designed and equipped to monitor airspace activities, detect potential threats, and provide real-time intelligence to the alliance.

Additionally, the military alliance disclosed that approximately 150 personnel have been deployed to Šiauliai to support the aircraft operations. 

These AWACS aircraft boast an impressive operational capacity, capable of remaining airborne for eight and a half hours while cruising at 9,000 meters.  

A NATO AWACS aircraft in the final approach. One AWACS plane can detect aircraft and missiles hundreds of kilometers away, making them a key early warning capability for NATO. Archive picture courtesy NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.

Furthermore, they can effectively survey a large area spanning 315,000 square kilometers, roughly equivalent to Poland’s size.

NATO said that it had intensified its air presence in the eastern region of the alliance in response to the ongoing conflict. This augmentation involves the deployment of fighter jets, surveillance aircraft, and tankers.

Russia Labels AWACS Deployment As Aggressive Move

In response to the deployment of AWACS planes to Lithuania, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed her concerns, noting that NATO is consistently pursuing aggressive activities to bolster its presence near the Russian border.

The diplomat said, “Unfortunately, this is an already long-lasting aggressive NATO activity on building up its military presence along the Russian border.”

She noted that over the years, NATO has claimed to focus on cooperation among its member states, but this narrative has been revealed to be false. 

The diplomat added, “And we know what they do. I repeat: they build up aggressive activity along the perimeter of our country’s borders.”

Since the commencement of Russia’s “special military operation” in February 2022, AWACS aircraft have undertaken hundreds of flights over eastern Europe dedicated to the surveillance of Russian warplanes, as reported by the alliance.

A Nato E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. Image: NATO

Lithuania shares its borders with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, a close ally of Moscow.

The deployment of these aircraft in the Baltic country would undeniably bolster the alliance’s capacity to effectively monitor and detect Russian aircraft and missiles across hundreds of kilometers, significantly enhancing overall regional security and awareness. 

NATO nations are adjusting to the evolving security landscape by strategically relocating a growing number of troops to the eastern region of the alliance. 

The alliance’s proactive stance includes the establishment of eight multinational battlegroups sourced voluntarily and rotated by the Allies.

These battlegroups collaborate closely with national armed forces, with Canada spearheading a battlegroup stationed in Latvia and Britain leading another in Estonia. 

Notably, French foreign legionnaires, a corps of the French Army, have been integrated into the UK-led battlegroup in Estonia under the mission titled “Mission Lynx.”

Following the Ukraine invasion, NATO countries have extended the duration and increased troop numbers for their battlegroups stationed in host nations. 

Germany’s Defence Minister, Boris Pistorius, previously committed to elevating Germany’s military presence in Lithuania to brigade size, constituting 4,000 troops. Berlin presently commands NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Lithuania, reinforced by a battalion of approximately 1,000 soldiers.

Additionally, several NATO member nations have declared intentions to boost their defense budgets, acquiring state-of-the-art weapon systems to enhance and modernize their military capabilities.

However, as NATO continues to expand its presence near Russian borders, the potential for confrontation between the two sides is also escalating rapidly.