Picture by: Andre Boer (nato.airn.nato)
Šiauliai, 29 March 12 – The eleventh sequel of the Baltic Region Training Event (BRTE XI) was completed on 28 March when all assets involved in the event were safely back at their home bases. The two-day training event brought together German Phantom fighter aircraft and Swedish Gripen as well as Finnish Hornet jets in the Baltic region to execute a scenario where a Lithuanian Spartan transport aircraft simulated a loss of communication above international waters in the Baltic Sea.
"This has been another excellent occasion to train important procedures for NATO's Air Policing in the Baltic region,” sums up Lieutenant Colonel Holger Radmann, commander of the German F-4F Phantom detachment tasked with executing this NATO mission at Šiauliai air base, Lithuania. "The participation of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) members Sweden and Finland was another realistic facet that allowed us to train handover procedures across national borders.”
On 27 March, the Swedish Gripen intervened the Spartan in Swedish airspace and handed control of the aircraft over to the German Phantoms which escorted it back to Šiauliai. The same scenario was executed on 28 March with the Finnish Hornets – Finland participated in a BRTE for the first time.
"I would like to thank the planners at all levels who ensured smooth execution of this event,” said the Finnish BRTE XI representative, Lieutenant Colonel Pasi Jokinen, during the media event that was attended by some 25 media representatives from local, regional and international media. "I would also like to thank the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, the Baltic Control and Reporting Centre at Karmelava, Lithuania, and of course the Šiauliai air base for their hospitality. We were happy for this chance to train these important procedures alongside our regional partners.”
For the representative of the Lithuanian host nation, Colonel Antanas Jucius, it has been a pleasure to host BRTE XI at Siauliai.
"This was really successful and it shows that it is important to have partners and neighbours,” he said during the media event. "We need to train with this type of scenario to be able to react properly if a real-world event happens.”
Colonel Jucius underlined the joint effort during the BRTE, where Germany provided the fighter aircraft, the Baltic countries ensured command and control and the Partner nations helped to bring back safely the aircraft that simulated the loss of communication. "We must train to be proficient in these procedures.”