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“The decision to prolong the Baltic Air Policing mission for an unlimited period of time is a huge achievement reflecting long-term NATO’s commitments to security of the Baltic States. After extensive discussions with the allies we have convinced them that we are prepared to share the burden of ensuring security and related costs with them,” said Minister R.Juknevičienė.

“NATO’s Air Policing is an example of the so-called Smart Defense. This concept allows focusing on Host Nation Support rather than investing into fighter-jet procurement projects,” the Minister said. “However, event the increased portion of our support as host nation can not be equaled to the huge costs that would accompany procurement and maintenance of fighter-jets on our own.”

The Baltic States share the spending related to the Host Nation Support for the Baltic Air Policing mission by approximately equal parts. In 2011 the costs for all the three states amounted to around 2.2 million EUR. The countries also agreed to increase the sum gradually to the approximate yearly 3.5 million EUR by 2015 which would be shared in equal parts.

An increase in funding for an increased extent of services rendered to date (i.e., additional flights of “Spartan” for the needs of deployment and redeployment of the Baltic Air Policing contingents, compensation of the greater part of accommodation costs, and more financing for communications, welfare services and other needs) and cover aviation fuel expenditure as of this year.

In return for the unlimited Baltic Air Policing mission the countries have made a commitment to continue augmenting the Host Nation Support in the future as well. Concrete figures and details will be established via negotiations with the NATO allies.

The Baltic States render Host Nation Support to the air contingents deployed on the Baltic Air Policing mission in the Šiauliai Air Base by providing vital infrastructure: quick alert zone, mobile covers for fighter-jets, flight control facilities, fuel storage, fighter-jet catchers installed on runways, etc.

Ambulance and fire fighters brigades are on permanent standby in the Šiauliai Air Base, one of the helicopters of the Lithuanian Air Force on permanent standby maintains readiness to conduct search and medical airlift, meteorological, aerial navigation, grounding and other services are also rendered.

Currently the Baltic States nominate flights of “Spartan” of the Lithuanian Air Force for deployment and redeployment of the air contingents on the Baltic Air Policing mission, and cover a part of expenses for accommodation and communications of the aircrews.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia allows air assets and air crews deployed on the Air Policing mission to conduct training in the Baltic airspace in order to increase the appeal as well as to improve the conditions of the mission to the allies.

Lithuania improves the national air surveillance system through procurement of new long-range radars in order to ensure that protection and control of the airspace is in compliance with the national standards and to provide conditions necessary for fluent conduct of the air policing mission. Reliable and of a relevant level air surveillance and control compliant with NATO standards is vital for the Baltic Air Policing mission. Airspace surveillance facilities are used not only for supervising national airspace and spotting potential violations but also for signaling for a scramble, controlling the fighters and guiding them to the intruder .

Source: kam,lt