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Britain deploys warship, four warplanes to Baltic region

Britain is sending a warship and four RAF Typhoon fighter jets to the Baltic region this month, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced Sunday.

The Royal Navy warship HMS Iron Duke and the warplanes will form part of the UK's commitment to eastern European allies, the MOD said in a statement.

The four Typhoons will take the lead role of the Baltic Air Policing mission which aims to safeguard the safety of NATO partners and wider Europe, the statement added.

Based on Amari air base in Estonia, the crews will operate in a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role.

"As part of standing arrangements within NATO, members of the alliance without their own air policing assets are assisted by others which contribute on a four-month cycle," an MOD spokesman said.

The Typhoon will operate alongside the Portuguese air force around the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Later this year Iron Duke is due to operate in the Baltic region with up to four other Royal Navy ships, including HMS Ocean and HMS Pembroke, in a major maritime exercise codenamed Baltops 16.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said: "British planes protecting Baltic skies alongside our warship patrols and troops exercising, show how serious we are about the security of our eastern European partners."

[Source: Xinhua, London, 03Apr16]

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