Defence Notes

Baltic nations advance BALTNET

6th December 2019 - 09:24 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence confirmed on 3 December that the scheduled re-structure of the Baltic Air Surveillance Network or BALTNET will see the activation of three national Control and Reporting Centres (CRC) in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The aim is to improve the capabilities and interoperability of NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System in the region to help safeguard Allied airspace.

The three countries have launched the BALTNET future configuration project to further enhance their air surveillance and control capabilities in the region and their contribution to NATO’s collective defence effort and architecture.

‘By establishing a CRC in each of our three countries, we achieve a joint and combined capable network. The individual functional units will eventually provide a more robust package for the region. We are confident and proud that this will markedly increase our capabilities especially as we contribute to controlling NATO aircraft in support of the Alliance’s Baltic Air Policing mission,' said Maj Tõnis Pärn, senior Estonian officer at Baltic CRC Karmelava, one of the stakeholders in the project.

The final concept foresees the establishment of three identical CRCs in Tallinn, Lielvarde and Karmelava tailored to national airspace surveillance. The system will allow assigning fighter controllers to Allied flying assets on a rotational basis among the three CRCs and enhance the data exchange with NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany and other entities of the Alliance.

‘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. At the same time advanced structures imply complexity and more responsibility that we will ensure through enhanced regional cooperation,’ Col Dainius Guzas, Commander of Lithuanian Air Forces said.

The BALTNET co-operation project was launched in 1998 as a system for acquisition, coordination, distribution and display of air surveillance data within the three Baltic states. Its objectives encompass international co-operation between civilian and military air traffic authorities and the development of the respective functions in all participating states. As such, BALTNET was a major stepping stone for helping the three countries to contribute to and to integrate with NATO structures.

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