NATO Increases Warplanes In Baltic, Poland, Romania
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 29, 2014
Allies enhance NATO air-policing duties in Baltics States, Poland, Romania
Fighter jets from Poland, the United Kingdom and Denmark take over NATO air policing duties over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Thursday (1 May 2014) as part of enhanced collective defence measures agreed to by Allies earlier this month.
French fighter aircraft arrived in Poland on Monday (28 April 2014) to conduct training activities and air policing duties and Canadian jets left Canada on Tuesday (29 April) for deployment to Romania for similar duties there.
A ceremony is planned on Wednesday ( 30 April 2014) at the Siauliai airbase in Lithuania when the United States will hand over responsibility for the mission to Poland, the United Kingdom and Denmark. The three countries will officially take over the task on Thursday (1 May 2014). The United States led the mission from 1 January to 30 April 2014. Poland will lead the mission and provide four MiG-29 aircraft. They will be backed up by four British Typhoon jets. The Polish and British aircraft will operate out of Siauliai airbase in Lithuania.
Four Danish F-16 jets will start patrols from Amari airbase in neighboring Estonia. The three Allies will conduct air policing duties for a four month period.
In addition, four French Rafale jets will operate out of the Malbork airbase in Poland. The six Canadian CF-18 fighter aircraft will be based in Romania as part of the NATO efforts to reassure Allies in Central and Eastern Europe.
For the past ten years, NATO member states have taken turns sending fighter aircraft to police the airspace of the Baltic States as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania do not have fighter jets of their own. NATO’s air-policing mission protects the safety and integrity of Alliance airspace on a 24/7 basis and Allies take up the patrols for a four-month rotation. Allies have traditionally deployed four fighter jets for their rotation, however, NATO increased its presence with additional jets after the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 28, 2014
NATO military senior officer reaffirms solidarity to Latvia
Lieutenant General Mark Schissler, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, is in Latvia for a three-day visit to reaffirm NATO’s solidarity and commitment to collective defence.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has reinforced solidarity among the Allies and shown that their commitment…in the Euro-Atlantic area is stronger than ever. “Latvia made a free and sovereign choice ten years ago…Our job is to preserve this stability and do all necessary to defend our Allies,” Lieutenant General Mark Schissler, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee stressed at a joint press conference today with Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube, Latvia’s Chief of Defence.
On 16 April 2014, the North Atlantic Council agreed on further military measures to reinforce collective defence and demonstrate the strength of allied solidarity. Speaking from Riga, the Deputy Chairman said that those measures include tripling NATO’s Air Policing posture in the Baltic region with current allied contributions from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Poland and further offers from Germany and Canada. Enhancing maritime situational awareness by deploying allied warships to the Baltic Sea from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia, as well as daily AWACS surveillance missions over Poland and Romania. In addition, Lieutenant General Schissler stated that soldiers from individual Allied countries will train and exercise together in the region, in order to enhance readiness and show their commitment.
“These measures are defensive and entirely in line with our Alliance commitments. They send a clear message that NATO will protect every Ally and defend against any threat to our fundamental security,” said the Deputy Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. “In the long term, we will have to review our military posture and readiness in the light of the new strategic security situation. It is too early to draw detailed conclusions, but we will have to discuss this as we prepare for the NATO Summit in Wales this September,” he added.
Since 2003, Latvia has supported the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and actively contributed to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. It has also participated in many NATO exercises and hosted Steadfast Jazz 2013, which successfully trained around 6,000 personnel from 28 NATO member nations as well as three-partner nations (Sweden, Finland and Ukraine) in a combined multinational setting. “Your contribution to the NATO Response Force is much appreciated, particularly in the maritime domain…There is no doubt that your commitment to this Alliance is solid,” emphasized Lieutenant General Schissler.
During his trip, which will conclude on Wednesday 30 April 2014, the Deputy Chairman will hold talks with Mr. Raimonds Vējonis, Latvia’s Minister of Defence, and visit Lielvārde Air Force Base.