The Czech Air Force has officially taken over the NATO Baltic air-policing mission. The commander of the Czech contingent symbolically took over the mission from Poland at a ceremony at the Šiaulia airbase in Lithuania on Friday. The Gripen fighters of the Czech Air Force will start policing the Baltic airspace on Saturday. Their mission will last four months. This is the second time Czech pilots are guarding the airspace of the three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – who lack their own air forces. Czechs were first deployed there in 2009.