Home > Uncategorized > Italian Warplanes In Training For NATO Baltic Patrol

Italian Warplanes In Training For NATO Baltic Patrol

Lithuania Tribune
January 30, 2014

Italian Air Force is getting ready for the first rotation in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission

On 27 January 2014 two members of the Italian Air Force flew in at the Air Base in Šiauliai with two Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets and a Boeing KC-767A refuelling tanker, the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania, has informed.

Till Thursday the Italian airmen will be training in the Baltic airspace in advance of NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States which Italy is to take over for the first time in January 2015.

Italian troops with four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets whose tour of duty at the Šiauliai Ari Base will run for four months starting with January 2015 have arrived to familiarise with climatic conditions in Lithuania and the NATO mission.

The latter was represented to the Italian military by Colonel Lieutenant Vidmantas Raklevičius, commander of the Air Base, and U.S. military service members who are in charge of the mission at the moment.

The representatives of the Italian Air Force also toured the infrastructure used for the Baltic air policing purposes that is installed in the territory of the Air Base – the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) area and NATO‘s Air Policing HQ building.

The Ambassador of Italy in Lithuania H.E. Stefano Taliani de Marchio and the U.S. Ambassador in Lithuania H.E. Deborah A. McCarthy met with the U.S. airmen that are carrying out Baltic air policing and the Italian military preparing for the duty.

The U.S. air contingent which has been deployed to the Šiauliai Air Base earlier this year will be replaced by Polish troops with 4 MiG-29 fighter-jets this May.

Defence co-operation between Lithuania and Italy is based on an intergovernmental treaty signed in 1999. Currently the intensity of the defence co-operation is building both in the contexts of NATO exercises and bilateral co-operation.

Italy took part in the NATO exercise in the Baltic region Steadfast Jazz 2013, it is also a contributing state in the Lithuanian-hosted NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (ENSEC COE) and an Italian officer has been working at the ENSEC COE since 2013.

NATO member states began providing air personnel and assets for protecting the Baltic airspace in March 2004 upon the entrance of the three Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – into the Alliance. The Baltic Air Policing mission has been carried out by 14 allies since then.

The airspace over the Baltics has been protected by Belgian, Danish, Czech, British, Spanish, U.S., Polish, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Turkish and German air contingents so far.

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