Ramstein, Germany - From July 5 to 8, NATO Allies conducted testing of how their air assets work together to protect the Baltic airspace with Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) assets.
NATO tested how IAMD components on the ground and in the air can be tied into a network that helps shield NATO airspace
Several Allies have deployed additional assets like surface-based air and missile defence (SBAMD) systems and fighter aircraft augmenting the routinely deployed Baltic Air Policing fighters based at Siauliai ,Lithuania, and Ämari, Estonia. During so-called readiness verification events, NATO Allied Air Command, via the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, oversaw procedural test of how these assets can be brought to work together efficiently.
German Eurofighters refuelled from an A-400M to join the activities underscoring the Allies' capability to deploy when and where needed. Photo by Bundeswehr.
NASAMS air defence system from Lithuania and Spain were integrated in the defensive posture during the readiness drills. Archive photo of a Lithuanian NASAMS by Levos Budzeikaité.
French Rafale fighter jets arrived at Siauliai Air Base to take part in the drills joining Finnish, Portuguese, and Romanian jets. Photo by Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Germany deployed PATRIOT batteries to Lithuania adding another capable element to the Integrated Air and Missile Defence system strengthening Alliance deterrence. Photo by Bundeswehr.
Controlled by the Lithuanian Control and Reporting Centre at Karmelava, Allied SBAMD systems from Germany, Spain and Lithuania trained defensive measures with fighter aircraft from Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom supported by NATO Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and Allied air-to-air refueling aircraft..
“With these activities NATO verified how the various IAMD components on the ground and in the air can be tied into a network that helps to shield NATO airspace against potential threats,” said Brigadier General Christoph Pliet, chief operations officer at Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany. “The goal was to train, challenge and verify units and command and control in combined operations and optimize integration of the assets,” he added.
“We consider our activities as a useful opportunity to showcase and test a new Rotational Model for NATO IAMD discussed at the Vilnius Summit. This model supports the fundamentals of NATO Air Policing and builds on Allied Air Command’s ongoing contributions to Deterrence and Defence. The model further integrates additional Air assets and SBAMD units into NATO IAMD, all under the NATO Command and Control umbrella. It ensures NATO Allies continue to safeguard and protect Alliance territory, populations and forces from air and missile threats,” General Pliet concluded.
The verification tests also served to make the Allied forces ready to protect the deliberations of NATO leaders during the Vilnius Summit, where Nations, among others, “agreed to further improve the readiness, preparedness, and interoperability of NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence, in particular through regular training and rotational presence of modern air defence systems and capabilities across SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility, with an initial focus on the eastern flank, thereby strengthening our deterrence.”