News

2015.09.08 13:45

NATO Air Drill

Algirdas Acus 2015.09.08 13:45

NATO holds annual air drills in the Baltic region, including Lithuania, which gained more significance this year amid growing concerns over Russia's territorial ambitions.  

 NATO holds annual air drills in the Baltic region, including Lithuania, which gained more significance this year amid growing concerns over Russia's territorial ambitions.

The two-day exercise will involve American F-15 fighter jets, NATO's AWACS reconnaissance aircraft, and non-NATO Sweden's JAS-39 Gripen combat jets.

Baltic States lack sufficient aircraft to police their own skies and therefore larger NATO member-countries have taken turns patrolling their airspace.

The United States reinforced its presence earlier this month by sending six extra F-15 fighter jets to boost the mission.

Britain, Denmark, France and Germany have also offered additional warplanes.

SHOTLIST

Vs of air drills 

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

 EDVARDAS MAZEIKIS, Major General, Chief of Air Force:

Without delay and any further compromises, NATO has increased the number of its warplanes in Siauliai. That shows how serious the security issues are considered. Due to that we certainly feel safe.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

 JUOZAS OLEKAS, Lithuanian Minister of Defense:
 For possible increase of tension around our country, we do have our partners behind.

More of drills

Soundbite (English)

 LENDY RENEGAR, Chief of the US Unit in NATO Baltic Air Mission:
 As we worked together to get a distrust airman on the ground today, it was a huge mission success. We gonna try again tomorrow and I hope the weather holds, and we have the same success tomorrow. It was a great day.

 Soundbite (English)

 JOACHIM WUNDRA, Lieutenant General, Chief of the NATO Unit Air Missions Centre:
 Very good development in the last years, especially in this base and the whole system in the Baltic States. I am very pleased with what I see and find here.