photo of the Air War College visit in front of one of the Spanish Air
Force Eurofighter jets – Base Commander Col Matulaitis (front row 5th
from left) and Spanish Detachment Commander LtCol Ballesta (front row
8th from left). Photo by Alejandro Talavera
In the early afternoon of 6 March, a delegation of students from the United States Air Force Air War College (AWC) arrived at Lithuanian Air Force Air Base at Šiauliai. Lithuania, where NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) detachment is currently provided by the Spanish Air Force. The group was met by the Base Commander, Colonel Marius Matulaitis and the Spanish Detachment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Juan Antonio Ballesta Miñarro.
In a first presentation the visitors were briefed by Colonel Matulaitis on the history of the air base, ongoing programmes, services provided to NATO BAP mission, etc. The second presentation, by Lieutenant Colonel Ballesta, focused on the BAP mission, the role and performance of the Spanish detachment and the capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The AWC students were then taken around the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) premises and to one of the hangars where the Eurofighter Typhoon jets are kept. Other pilots, maintenance and support personnel were available to answer all the questions the AWC visitors had about Eurofighter capabilities.
A group picture was taken prior to moving to the QRA building, where the EF pilots explained the visitors everything about the pilots’ gear.
The AWC students expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to visit and hoped that they can spend more time in the Baltic States as part of their study programme.
The United States Air Force Air War College (http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/is
) is the senior Air Force professional military school. Annually, they prepare about 250 resident and over 5,000 non-resident senior students from all US military services, federal agencies, and 41 nations to lead in the strategic environment, emphasizing the employment of airpower in joint operations.
The US Air War College provides senior military officers and senior defence civilians with a year-long strategic course. The students take part in two-week study trips to different regions of the world to meet with regional military and civilian leaders and to learn about the security issues of the region
Baltic Air Policing
Preserving the integrity of the airspace of NATO Allies is a collective task. For member nations not having the full range of Air Defence assets in their own militaries agreements exist to ensure a single standard of security within NATO’s Area of Responsibility. NATO’s Air Policing is not in response to any specific threat, but rather a routine and fundamental component of how NATO provides security to its members.
"Spain’s contribution to the BAP happens as a result of NATO’s request to participate in this mission,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ballesta. "Meeting Spain’s international obligations as a partner and as an Ally is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to international stability.
Story and photos by the Spanish Air Force Public Affairs Officer, Captain Alejandro Talavera