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NATO hold one-day training event above the Baltic States to enhance coordination and ensure sovereignty of the Baltic airspace

2009.04.06
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NATO to hold one-day training event above the Baltic States to enhance coordination and ensure sovereignty of the Baltic airspace 

On April 7 Baltic Air Sovereignty Training – Event II (BAST-E II) will be held in the airspace of the three Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, NATO members will be represented by 12 fighter-jets in the fly-by.

BAST-E II is held to enhance interoperability of capabilities ensuring NATO airspace patrolling over the Baltic States, readiness of Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian national airspace command and control systems for transregional cooperation when ensuring sovereignty of the countries' airspace, improvement of patrolling procedures, and emphasizing visibility of NATO's solidarity and commitments to the Baltic States. BAST-E II will include transregional coordination of air actions in the Baltic airspace, cross-border procedures, exchange of information on situation in the airspace.

Baltic Air Sovereignty Training Event will be organised for the second time by the Allied Air Component Command HQ Ramstein (Germany). The first precedent of the exercise last autumn was estimated as very successful. Such training events are planned to be conducted on a regular basis during each rotation of every air contingent patrolling Baltic airspace.

One-day training event will be attended by two L-159 of the Czech Air Force, four F-16 of the Polish Air Force, four F-16 of the US Air Force, and two Danish Air Force F-16 fighters guarding Baltic airspace with the current rotation. Air assets of the Baltic Air Forces will also be present at BAST-E II.  Lithuanian light attack jet-fighter L-39ZA will ”get engaged” in an air battle against Danish fighters, two US fighters will have the task to find, identify and intercept a slowly and at a low altitude flying An-2 fighter-jet of Estonian Air Force. ”After the exercise, Danish fighters and LAF L-39ZA will make a demonstration flight over Vilnius.

Participants of the fly-by will be coordinated from the Control and Reporting Centre in Karmelava. BAST-E II will be conducted in three stages with short air battles between fighters of different countries during each; ”air battles” will take place in airspace areas set in advance. During the first two stages two US F-16’ will meet two Polish F-16s, while in the third stage two Czech L-159s will fight against two Denmark's F-16s. Pilots will share roles of offenders and defenders before the event. 

In the BAST-E II NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force aircraft E-3A AWACS from the Geilenkirchen Air Base (Germany) will also be present. Air Battle Management Platform E-3A AWACS is at the moment the world's most cutting-edge air asset of its type after the recently undergone upgrade. E-3A AWACS is used for coordination of own aircraft flights, management of air battle and operative transfer of data on situation in the air.

Majority of fighter-jets taking part in the exercise will not land in the Baltic States but will return to their permanent dislocation place immediately afterwards. They will get air-to-air refuelled by the US tanker aircraft KC-135.

NATO airspace patrolling mission was launched in the Baltic States after their NATO accession in 2004. During five years NATO Baltic airspace patrolling mission has been on, Baltic airspace has been guarded by 13 allies already:  Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the UK, the US, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, France, Romania, Turkey, and Germany. Belgian, Norwegian, German, American and Polish air contingents have already been sent to the mission twice each. Second rotation of Danish troops currently deployed on the mission in Siauliai Military Airport will be followed by the Czechs. 

More on BAST-E II – http://www.airramstein.nato.int/bast_e.htm

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