VILNIUS - On April 1 and 2, NATO’s aerial combat training exercise will take place over the Baltics, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced on Monday, as reported to LETA and ELTA News agencies.
Tasks that will be simulated during the exercise include emergency landing and search and rescue operations using “Mi-8” helicopter of the Lithuanian Air Force.
“As unrest has escalated in the vicinity of the Baltic States, NATO has augmented the Baltic Air Policing mission with additional aircraft to ensure our security,” said Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas. “That is why this BRTE is not only an evident proof of Alliance solidarity and commitments but also an opportunity for Lithuanian military to refurbish their knowledge and interoperability with allies and partners.”
The exercise will involve “F-15C Eagle” aircraft of the U.S. Air Force currently deployed on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, “JAS-39 Gripen” aircraft of the Swedish Air Force, “C-27J Spartan” transport aircraft and “Mi-8 helicopter” of the Lithuanian Air Force. Furthermore, NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft based in Germany and U.S. “KC-135R” air refuelling aircraft are expected to join the exercise.
The training event will include low-altitude flights in Palanga and Vilnius airports in order to improve the corresponding procedures and to train cooperation with civilian airports.
The Baltic Regional Training Event (BRTE) has already been arranged for five years in succession by Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein and Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem.
According to the Latvian Defense Ministry, the next such exercise will be held in Latvia at the end of May.