VILNIUS – The Lithuanian Air Force Base in the northern city of Siauliai has been upgraded for 24 million euros provided by the United States.
Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday that the funds have been spent on new ground equipment maintenance hangars, OPS facility, three fighter aprons, up-to-date fighter arresting gear and lighting installation of one of the aprons, several taxiways and areas and roads for ground vehicles and they will enhance readiness of the Lithuanian Air Force Base to host NATO allies, strengthens deterrence, and improves interoperability.
"24 million euros were allocated in 2016 –2020 from the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative to build the new infrastructure. 16 objects have been finished and two more are planned to be done by the end of the year," the ministry said in a statement.
On August 5, US Ambassador to Lithuania Robert S. Gilchrist, Vice Minister of National Defense Eimutis Misiunas, Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, Brig Gen Ronald E. Jolly Sr., Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Col Dainius Guzas, and other representatives of the Lithuanian and the U.S. Armed Forces will visit Siauliai Air Base to view and discuss the new infrastructure.
According to Misunas, US investments into Lithuania’s defense infrastructure demonstrate that Lithuania remains among the important priorities of the US defense policy.
"By strengthening capabilities of the Lithuanian Air Force Base, we are ensuring training conditions for U.S. and other NATO allies’ military units and contributing to a swift deployment of allies to the other Baltic states and Lithuania," Misiunas said.
He also underscored that the Lithuanian Air Force Air Base in Siauliai is an important facility not also for the country but also regionwide, therefore the completed U.S.-funded infrastructure projects increase not only Lithuania’s but all the three Baltic states’ defense potential, and also help to maintain high readiness of Lithuanian, U.S. and other allies’ forces.