President Gitanas Nausėda visited the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai to meet with NATO troops from Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and Lithuania on the air policing mission to the Baltic States.
“The Baltic air policing mission is a great example of NATO solidarity. Rotating contingents of soldiers from different countries with up-to-date military equipment demonstrate the inexhaustible commitment of the Alliance to the protection of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspace”, the President said.
According to the President, a serious approach to the defense of the region as well as the US efforts to develop an integrated air defense architecture show that the security of the Baltic States and Poland is seen as an essential element of the security of the Alliance as a whole.
The President emphasized that Lithuania sought to further strengthen its air defense capabilities and saw this as a priority. Therefore, the acquisition of ground-based medium-range air defense system NASAMS is underway, which should be completed in 2021. For the first time, the elements of the NASAMS system will be tested in our country this year, in the international exercise “Tobruq Legacy 2020” to be held in Lithuania, in September.
“We will continue to do everything possible to ensure our security. We are well aware that deterrence only works when the potential opponent knows, that, in the event of aggression, he will face a strong will and adequate defense capabilities tested in the exercise”, the President said.
After the meeting with the contingents of NATO air policing mission, the President wished the soldiers success and thanked them for their meaningful mission.
The President also saw the fighter jets F-18 Hornet (Spain) and Eurofighter Typhoon (the United Kingdom) and other military equipment operated by the Lithuanian Air Force.