Home > Uncategorized > Lithuania: NATO Opens New Headquarters For Baltic Air Patrols

Lithuania: NATO Opens New Headquarters For Baltic Air Patrols

Lithuania Tribune
October 21, 2013

New headquarters of NATO’s Air Policing mission opened in Šiauliai Air Base

On 18 October a new headquarters building was opened at Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force for NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States, the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania has informed.

The new object, a part of the vital infrastructure of NATO’s Air Policing mission, will ensure more convenient service conditions for air contingents deployed to protect the Baltic airspace.

The building covering over 1,000 m2territory is located in the Quick Reaction Area (QRA) where NATO fighter-jets stand on duty and scramble in case of a necessity. It houses facilities for fighter-jet pilots on duty and technical personnel who prepare aircraft for take-offs, also offices, and other premises.

Financing of approximately five million litas for the constructions was allocated from the funds the Lithuanian Government Budget and NATO Security Investment Programme. The part of financing covered from the Government Budget amounted to LTL 3.7 million and from the NATO funds – to LTL 1.3 million. Contractor JSC ‘Konsolė’ implemented the constructions within one year.

The development project for the infrastructure of Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force commenced in 2004 when personnel and assets of the first NATO Air Contingent were deployed to carry out NATO’s Air Policing mission.

Since then four hangars, aircraft shelters, emergency arrestor gear on the main runway, and auxiliary runways stretching to the main landing strip have been built to ensure the infrastructure necessary for conducting NATO’s Air Policing mission.

In addition to the objects for NATO’s Air Policing mission the basic infrastructure of the Air Base used for national and contributing allies’ needs has been renovated too: the main and auxiliary runways have been reconstructed, platforms for military and transport aircraft, operational centre for the air squadron, munitions storehouse, grounds for loading and removing aircraft weapons, engine testing, fighter-jet parking, new roads for accessing the Air Base have been constructed, etc.

New maintenance equipment has been acquired for fighter-jets and the Air Base to improve its infrastructure and the quality of the Host Nation Support rendered: fire-fighting and quick medical aid, snow blowers and loader vehicles, equipment for jet- fuelling, aircraft landing, and other.

The major portion of investment into the development of the infrastructure at Šiauliai Air Base has been made from the NATO Security Investment Programme so far – in 2004–2012 it amounted to approximately LTL 121.5 million, and respectively – to LTL 59.9 million from Lithuania’s Government Budget.

Lithuanian companies ‘Šiaulių Plentas’, ‘Panevėžio statybų trestas’, ‘Konsolė’, and others, have contributed to the infrastructure development projects for Šiauliai Air Base.

As the renovation of the Air Base is planned to be continued till 2015, a jet-fuel storage is planned to be built for enhancing Lithuania’s capacity to accept strategic allied capabilities at the Air Base. A new railway siding is also planned appear for fuel transportation and new electricity lines to supply the storage. A sports grounds and facilities for accommodation of air personnel deployed on the Baltic Air Policing mission throughout the rotation period will be installed in the future to provide better service conditions.

Since early 2004 NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission has already been carried out by 33 rotations, the majority of countries delegated their troops to protect the Baltic skies more than once. The Baltic Air Policing mission was extended indefinitely in 2012.

On October 18 a combat flag will be bestowed on a unit at a formal ceremony at the Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force.

The headquarters building will formally opened and the combat flag bestowed on the Air Base in the presence of the Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force acting Chief of Defence Major General Edvardas Mažeikis, Commander of the LITHAF Air Base Col Vidmantas Raklevičius, representatives of various embassies and other guests.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kathleen
    October 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    What is a combat flag?

    Why is it worthy to be bestowed?

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