06.03.2014. The Lithuania Tribune: US sending six additional fighter jets to Baltic air policing mission

he United States are sending six additional F-15 fighter jets as a backup of the Baltic air policing mission.

I have confirmation that the air policing mission will be strengthened, as six additional F15 fighter jets are being sent in, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas told BNS on Thursday.

Currently, four US F-15C Eagles are guarding the Baltic airspace, stationed in the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Base in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania.

The Baltic States dont have capabilities to protect their airspace; therefore, NATO allies send their fighter jets and troops on a rotating basis.

According to Minister Olekas, the additional jets being sent in response to Russias aggression in Ukraine and its amplified military activity in the Kaliningrad region.

Amid a heightened alert and readiness, and military activity around our borders, additional forces are being sent in, the Minister told BNS.

Data of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence show that in 2012-2013 NATO fighter jets were summoned over 40 times in response to flights of Russian military aircraft near the borders of the Baltic States.

In January and February, compared to the same period last year, the number of NATO jet flights aimed at identifying Russian aircraft was higher, the Ministry told BNS.