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20th Anniversary of the Baltic Air Police Mission at Šiauliai Air Base.

In Siauliai, Lituania
March 28, 2024
  •  The event, chaired by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, was participated by the Spanish Detachment 'Vilkas', and the Spanish Ambassador in that country.

 A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Air Police (BAP) mission, a regional agreement for the defence and deterrence of threats in Baltic airspace, has taken place at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania.

Presided over by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauséda, and accompanied by his Chief of Defence, General Valdemaras Rupsys, the event was attended by a diverse group of military commanders from NATO countries and diplomatic representations, including the Spanish Ambassador to Lithuania, María Nieves Blanco Díaz. Highlighting the presence of the chief of supreme headquarters of the allied powers in Europe, Admiral Joachim Ruehle; the Second-in-Commmand of the Joint Combined Forces Headquarters of Brunssum, Lieutenant General Luis Lanchares Dávila; the Commander of the Combined Air Operations Centre of Uedem, Major General Harold Van Pee; and the Chief of Operations Commands of the Joint Staff of Spain, Lieutenant General Francisco Braco Carbó.

During the ceremony, a symbolic handover of the NATO banner from the head of the Belgian detachment in Šiauliai to the President of the Republic took place. President Nauséda highlighted the significance of NATO membership for Lithuania, thanking NATO partners for their efforts in air police missions. His words were echoed by the rest of the Lithuanian authorities and by the Head of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe, who had a special tribute for the current rotation of the Belgian Air Force, as they were also the first unit of the BAP Mission at this Air Base.

This was followed by the transfer of the symbolic key to the Baltic States' airspace from the heads of the Belgian and French detachments to the chiefs of the new Spanish and Portuguese rotations. All of this took place in the presence of national and foreign media, a small representation of the Lithuanian Forces, and a formation of soldiers from each of the four contingents present.

The event ended with a fly-over by two Mirage-2000 of the French Air Force, and a static display of the different combat aircraft used in the BAP (Eurofighter, M-2000, F-18, F-16), ground-to-air defence systems and the UAS 'Scan Eagle', this brilliant event concluded with a social event.

In short, Block 65 of the Vilkas Detachment from Spain will continue the "one for all and all for one" 24 hours / 7 days, in the coming months, demonstrating the high degree of cohesion among NATO members within the framework of shared defence and respect for international law.