Air strength at the heart of eastern defence

December 3, 2019 posted by

The men and machines that patrol the skies
above the Baltics. Six nations’ fighter aircraft and the AWACS surveillance plane
briefly paused on the ground at Łask Air Base in Poland this week to greet NATO’s
new Secretary General. Alliance aircraft routinely police the skies
above Baltic nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Poland and Romania. It’s a force
that has quadrupled in size in recent months. “NATO’s most important job is to protect
and defend our nations against attack and these men and women make sure that NATO gets
the job done every day.” Since the crisis in Ukraine, probing flights
by Russian military aircraft near Allied airspace have increased, according to pilots, who are
regularly scrambled to intercept them. “We have seen an increase in terms of the
number of intercepts that have been taking place. The tempo has picked up over this past
summer. Of course, based on world events, it has risen. “
Using radar and surveillance planes like the Airborne Warning and Control System or AWACS,
a potential threat to Baltic airspace can be picked up and fighters scrambled to meet
it in a matter of minutes. “From the time that the bell rings or the
horn goes off, we’ve got aircrew, maintenance and the appropriate agencies that are scrambling,
moving very, very quickly in order to get aircraft airborne to intercept or shadow,
whatever the mission may be, in order to ensure the sovereignty and integrity of the airspace
in the Baltic states. So, suffice to say it’s very quick.”
Speaking at the base, the Secretary General called on Russia to play its part in helping
to uphold a ceasefire in Ukraine and help calm the region.
“I would call on Russia to use all their influence to also make sure that the separatists
are respecting the ceasefire, because the ceasefire is so important for any political
solution to the conflict and we are of course concerned when we see that the ceasefire is
violated as it is today.” His next visit to Turkey, where the ongoing
conflicts in Syria and Iraq pose a security challenge, will seek to demonstrate NATO’s
commitment to its southern border. Ruth Owen, in Poland, for NATO Channel.

1 Comment

One Reply to “Air strength at the heart of eastern defence”

  1. NATO says:

    The new NATO Secretary General visits the heart of NATO air defence on its eastern flank.. #NATOonDuty

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