Regional Air Control Center opens

  • 2000-06-08
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Regional Air Control and Coordination Center officially opened on May 30 in the outskirts of Lithuania's second city Kaunas in Karmelava.

The regional center was established in line with a joint Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian air control project, BALTNET, supervised by Norway and sponsored by the United States.

In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton suggested establishment of a joint Eastern and Central European air control system, and the three Baltic states were invited to join the project in 1995.

A treaty on the founding of the joint system was signed in April 1998.

Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian national air control centers transfer data to the Karmelava-based center about situations in the air space, forming a general picture of the entire Baltic region.

A representative of the Defence Ministry said theUnited States granted $10 million to the establishment of regional and national air control centers in the Baltic states.

Meanwhile, Norway has been allocating $1 million to the Karmelava center on an annual basis since 1997. The funds were directed towards purchases of communication equipment. A training center for the staff was also constructed from Norwegian funds.

The spokesman said that there is no way of measuring Danish and Norwegian assistance in the training of the staff. Thirty officers each from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have completed special training sessions in the two countries.

BALTNET is not only a Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian military cooperation project. The three Baltic states have already formed a joint peace-keeping battalion, BALTBAT, a torpedo-boat flotilla, BALTRON, and a joint Baltic defense college is now under way.