Aiming for implementation of the NATO Rotational Air Defence Model in the eastern flank of NATO, Ministers of Defence of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia Arvydas Anušauskas, Inara Mūrniecė and Hanno Pevkur, respectively, on July 11 signed a joint Declaration of Cooperation availability of the Baltic States’ airspace for NATO air activities. While signing the document on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Ministers highlighted the availability of clustered together Baltic airspace for NATO Allies to the end of strengthening NATO deterrence, Alliance air capability training, and capability interoperability and enhanced vigilance.
Following the agreement to significantly strengthen air defence reached at the NATO Summit in Madrid, the decision on Rotational Air Defence Model was taken in June this year outlining ground-based air and missile defence deployment on a rotational basis with an aim to increase the readiness of the Alliance’s air and missile defence capabilities. The joint Declaration of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia encourages NATO Allies to contribute capabilities in implementation of the Rotational Air Defence Model.
“This Declaration is an important step forward as we strengthen the Baltic states’ air defence. NATO took the decision on the Rotational Air Defence Model starting with the eastern flank of NATO. In Lithuania’s perspective, it is a decision of outstanding importance. We are in collaboration with the Allies on the implementation of the Rotational Air Defence Model which will ensure a smooth transition from Air Policing to Air Defence, improve readiness of Allied air capabilities, integration and interoperability,” said Minister of National Defence A. Anušauskas.
The Declaration underlines the commitment of the Baltic states to promote availability of their airspace to NATO in case of necessity, to ensure the highest flight safety standard and improve civil-military collaboration of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The Baltic states highlight the significance of investments and procurements of air defence systems and will continue to focus on enhancement of national capability and their interoperability.
“The Baltic states invest in air defence capability enhancement. Lithuania is purchasing additional NASAMS equipment and improves infrastructure at the Šiauliai Airbase. Lithuania planned out investing approx. EUR 142 million to the airbase infrastructure over the next decade,” said A. Anušauskas thanking Allies for the air capabilities deployed to Lithuania to ensure security during the NATO Summit in Vilnius. According to Minister, it is seen as the first step of testing the principles of Rotational Air Defence Model operation.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are committed to ensure conditions necessary for the implementation of the Rotational Air Defence Model, including air base infrastructure with required services. The Baltic states will also continue providing the Host Nation Support, including the recent increase of the trilateral provision of Host Nation Support for the NATO Air Policing in the Baltic States by 25 percent.
Photo credit: MoD / Sgt 1st Class A. Čemerka