Elements of infrastructure built on U.S. donations at the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Force Base in Šiauliai were handed over to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. 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 enhances readiness of the Lithuanian Air Force Base to host NATO allies , strengthens deterrence, and improves interoperability. The sum of EUR 24 million was 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.
On August 5 Ambassador of the United States of America HE Robert S. Gilchrist, Vice Minister of National Defence Eimutis Misiūnas, 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 Šiauliai Air Base to view and discuss the new infrastructure.
“U.S. investments into Lithuania’s defence infrastructure demonstrate that Lithuania remains among the important priorities of the U.S. defence 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,” Vice Minister of National Defence Eimutis Misiūnas says. He also underscores that the Lithuanian Air Force Air Base in Šiauliai 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’ defence potential, and also help to maintain high readiness of Lithuanian, U.S. and other allies’ forces.