AMARI: Six F-15E Strike Eagle fighters from the Un-ited States Air Force arri-ved at Ämari Air Base as part of the Astute Protector exercise. The main goal of the fighters in Estonia is to support the Baltic Air Security Mission with the F-16 fighter jets of the Belgian Air Force, whose rotation began in December last year. This was reported in the press service of the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces.
“Six US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighters arrived at Ämari airbase as part of the Astute Protector exercise,” the press service informs.
“In addition, Danish F-16 fighter jets will arrive at the Lithuanian Šiauliai airport tomorrow and will perform the same tasks with the Polish F-16 fighter jets there. During the exercise, air-to-air and air-to-ground training procedures will be practiced with allies across the Baltics,” the press statement mentioned.
The F-15E fighters belong to the 48th Wing Fighter Wing of the US Air Force and arrived in Estonia from the permanent home base of the United Kingdom, Lakenheath Air Force Base. The destroyers will remain in Estonia until the end of next week.
“The Baltic Air Security Missions are ongoing NATO missions that ensure the continued vigilance of Allied airspace and contribute to the Alliance’s collective defense,” said Major General Jöerg Lebert, Chief of Staff of the NATO Air Force Command. “The additional deployed aircraft will work closely with existing units to increase our readiness, build critical interoperability and emphasize the strong solidarity of the Alliance as a whole.”
The United States conducts such exercises on a regular basis to assess its electoral status and, if necessary, to fulfill its security responsibilities. The exercises will also increase the level of training of NATO Allies in responding to potential crises around the world.
NATO members allocate certain parts of their airspace to air force exercises and drills, including low-fl-ying operations. The governments of the Baltic stat-es have also set aside areas in their airspace for low-cost flights. Low-cost flig-hts are performed in agreement with the Civil Aviat-ion Administration and the Air Traffic Services Limit-ed Liability Company.
According to the decision of the North Atlantic Council, the air forces of NATO member states have been guarding the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since March 29, 2004, when the Baltic states became members of NATO. As part of the 2012 Chicago Summit, the North Atlantic Council extended the Baltic Air Security Mission indefinitely.