NATO Aircraft Collide in Lithuania

A French air force fighter deployed to Siauliai AB, Lithuania, as part of NATO’s Baltic air policing mission collided in midair with a Lithuanian light attack aircraft on Tuesday. Despite damage to its stabilizer, the French Mirage 2000-C returned safely to base, said French air force officials. The Lithuanian aircrew was forced to eject from its L-39 and directed the stricken aircraft to an unpopulated area before escaping unscathed, according to a Lithuanian defense ministry statement. Two Mirages were flying routine intercept training with the L-39 at the time. NATO air forces rotate to Lithuania on quick-reaction alert, providing air defense to NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which lack defensive means. Deployed from Orange AB, France, the Mirages were due to hand off to Danish air force F-16s on Wednesday.