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Thursday, 23.03.2017, 14:18
NATO holds air training event in Baltic States again
On July 14-15 exercise of air capabilities organised by Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Rammstein will be held in the airspace of the Baltic States. The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability of Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian national air space surveillance and control capabilities to develop a unanimous NATO air defence system, improving procedures of NATO Baltic Air-space policing, and demonstrating solidarity of the allies with the Baltic States, reports ELTA/LETA.
"The exercise of NATO air capabilities is another proof of increasing multilateral integration of Lithuania and other Baltic States into the Alliance," commented Minister of National Defence Rasa Jukneviciene importance of the exercise.
In the exercise for the first time conducted as a part of NATO Electronics Warfare Force Integration Programme ground radar operators and pilots of fighter-jets will improve their skills of electronic environment battling.
In the exercise JAS-39 Gripen fighters of the Czech Air Force currently conducting NATO Baltic Air-policing mission will perform tasks of quick response to an alleged airspace violation and aircraft interception; two L-159 Alca fighter-jets of the Czech Air Force and two lightweight DA-20 aircrafts rented by NATO are expected to join the exercise.
Drop of cargo from a US transport aircraft C-130 and precision landing of cargo into a determined location in the territory of Estonia will be conducted to emphasize the versatility of air capabilities. The exercise will be held in airspace above the Baltic Sea away from inhabited locations and air assets will not be seen with a naked eye. The only aircraft to land in Tallinn is C-130.
Coordination of the exercising aircrafts will be provided by the Baltic States' Control and Reporting Centre in Karmelava.
The exercise is the third military air training event of such character held by NATO in the Baltic States' airspace. The first exercise took place in October 2008, the second – in April 2009. The main emphasis of the preceding events was put on improvement of measures of protecting sovereignty of the Baltic airspace as reflected in their name – Baltic Air Sovereignty Training Event, BASTE. The third training event was renamed into the Baltic Region Training Event, BRTE, to highlight expanded objectives of the exercise. NATO foresees holding such events on a regular basis during rotation of each Air Contingent deployed on the Baltic Air-policing mission.
NATO Baltic Air-policing mission was launched in 2004 when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia became members of the Alliance. During five of membership 13 countries – Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the UK, the US, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, France, Romania, Turkey and Germany – had sent their air contingents to provide security of the Baltic airspace. Belgium, Norway, Germany, the US and Poland had taken part in the NATO Baltic Air-policing mission twice each. AT the moment Air Contingent of the Czech Republic is deployed in the Aviation Base in Siauliai.