On July 28 President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda was accompanied by Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, Chief of the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Maj Gen Gintautas Zenkevičius and Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Col Dainius Guzas on a visit to the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai to familiarise with the air defence capabilities Lithuania has and to meet with the Spanish, British and German airmen conducting the current rotation of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states, as well as U.S. and Lithuanian soldiers.
President was shown the RBS70, Stinger missile air defence systems operated by the Air Defence Battalion, Sentinel and Giraffe surveillance radars, and elements of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) mid-range air defence system delivered to Lithuania in June earlier this year.
«Arrival of the NASAMS reinforces air defence of Lithuania and NATO’s eastern flank, all the components of the integrated defence system are linked together, and deterrence becomes stronger as a result», Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis says.
Procurement of the ground-to-air mid-range air defence system NASAMS is currently in progress and is expected to be completed in 2021. NASAMS components will undergo the first trial in Lithuania at international Exercise Tobruq Legacy 2020 in September this autumn.
NASAMS is the most widely used mid-range air defence system in NATO member states, and even for guarding the airspace over the White House, Washington. Lithuania has acquired the most recent, third generation, NASAMS 3, its current users are still only the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Norway, the manufacturer.
The guests also viewed fighter aircraft the allies protect the Baltic airspace with: F18 Hornets of the Spanish Air Force, Eurofighter Typhoons of the British Royal Air Force and the German Air Force, and Spartan transport aircraft and Dauphin AS365N3+ helicopters operated by the Lithuanian Air Force.