TALLINN – The Estonian government on Thursday gave its nod to an agreement according to which the central control and reporting center of the Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System (BALTNET) will be closed and its tasks will be taken over by national control and reporting centers.
The government endorsed the bill according to which an agreement on the launch of a new configuration of BALTNET between the governments of the Baltic countries will be ratified, government spokespeople said. The defense ministers of the Baltic states signed the agreement on Sept. 24, 2019 in Brussels.
In 1999, an intergovernmental agreement established the integrated Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System (BALTNET) of the three Baltic states with the aim of organizing the exchange of information between the national air surveillance systems of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, enabling the production of a uniform air surveillance image of the Baltic region and its exchange with third parties. As part of NATO's air defense system, BALTNET's mission is not only to conduct air surveillance, but also to provide air control and tactical management of air policing operations. The BALTNET air monitoring system consisted of a common control and reporting center in Lithuania and national centers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The new agreement between the three Baltic countries stipulates that the central control and reporting center be closed and instead, the implementation of the Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System to ensure airspace integrity will take place through national control and reporting centers, which will be able to replace each other when needed.
The agreement has to be ratified by the Riigikogu, because upon its entry into force, the agreement between the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the development of the Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System, ratified by the Riigikogu on October 24, 2007, will become invalid.