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The United States augment its participation in NATO's air policing mission in the Baltics


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On March 6 the U.S. Air Force deployed six F-15 C Eagle fighter jets to the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai. These aircraft will augment the present mission comprising four U.S. F-15 C Eagle aircraft. The U.S. has heightened it NATO presence to increase the strength of the Baltic Air Policing mission. Another two U.S. KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft have brought aircraft service personnel.


The U.S. has sent the additional fighter jets to the Baltics as a response to the developments in the region and as a further demonstration of a long-term U.S. commitment to NATO and European security.


According to the statement issued following NATO consultations under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the Alliance agrees “to pursue and intensify our rigorous and on-going assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security, in close coordination and consultation”.


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on March 5 that a decision had been made to boost U.S. participation in NATO’s Baltic Air policing mission with regard to NATO decisions.


The U.S. aircraft will also participate in NATO’s Baltic Regional Training Event (BRTE) to take place early in April alongside NATO partners Sweden and Finland.


The additional F-15s and KC-135s NATO have been deployed to the Baltic Air Policing mission from their home base in Lakenheath, United Kingdom, just like the first four F-15s that arrived early in January.



Photo credit: Antanas Gedrimas

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