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 Dec 20 2019

New Air Surveillance Network and Defence System inaugurated in Karmėlava

On December 19, the new Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System – in short BALTNET - configuration featuring a national Control and Reporting Centre each in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was officially inaugurated during a ceremony at Kaunas, Lithuania.

As of January 1, 2020 the security of the Baltic airspace will be ensured by Control and Reporting Centres (CRCs) in Tallinn, Lielvarde, and Karmėlava. These three CRCs are specifically designed for national airspace surveillance and replace the single Baltic CRC that was jointly manned by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian controllers. The new configuration will enhance capabilities of NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System, regional interoperability and reliability of protection of the Alliance airspace.  

“With back-up capable regional air surveillance and control capability we are heading to provide better survivability, enhanced opportunities for future peacetime and defensive operations,” said Colonel Dainius Guzas, Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force. “At the same time advanced structures imply complexity and more responsibility that we will ensure through enhanced regional cooperation,” he added.

The new BALTNET configuration affords NATO, Allied Air Command and the CAOC an increased redundant capability both technically and operationally

“The activation of a CRC in each of your Nations, affords NATO, Allied Air Command and the CAOC an increased redundant capability both technically and operationally,” said Polish Air Force Brigadier General Slawomir Zakowski, Deputy Commander of Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem. 


“My Commander is looking forward to having more options and more redundancy now when it comes to launching and controlling Allied fighter aircraft in the Baltic region,” he concluded.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by the Chief of Staff of the Estonian Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Janek Lehiste, Commander of the Latvian Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Viesturs Masulis, the last BALTNET Officer in Charge, Estonian Air Force Major Tönis Pärn, and other representatives of the Lithuanian National Defence System and international guests.

BALTNET is fully integrated into the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System and ensures security of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspace. The new configuration of BALTNET, on the basis of the new agreement, comprises three separate Control and Reporting Centers (CRCs) in each of the Baltic States, radiolocation posts, radars, radio equipment and communication lines. All the three Control and Reporting Centres will conduct air surveillance in their respective territories and near them, exchange data, and control the NATO Air Policing Mission aircraft on a rotational basis. One CRC will always be available for the mission another will be used as back up.


Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

The last BALTNET Officer in Charge, Estonian Air Force Major Tönis Pärn, addresses the audience during the ceremony. Maj Pärn was also the last officer to lead the Baltic CRC at Karmelava. Photo courtesy Lithuanian Air Force
The senior officers of the three Baltic Air Forces (from left to right): Colonel Dainius Guzas, Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Viesturs Masulis, Commander of the Latvian Air Force and Lieutenant Colonel Janek Lehiste, Chief of Staff of the Estonian Air Force.  
. Photo courtesy Lithuanian Air Force
The Deputy Commander of NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, Polish Air Force Brigadier General Slawomir Zakowski, hands over commemorative certificates to representatives of the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian  Air Forces. Photo courtesy Lithuanian Air Force

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