In response to Russian military activity near NATO’s borders, the alliance will temporarily deploy Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft to Šiauliai, Lithuania.
The first of two aircraft arrived on 28 September and will conduct monitoring missions. NATO has increased its air presence in Eastern Europe since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has increased our focus on the security environment in the Baltic Sea region,” said acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White. “Our AWACS can detect aircraft and missiles hundreds of kilometres away, making them a key early warning capability for NATO. I thank Lithuania for hosting the aircraft. This is an important contribution to our shared security.”
In response to recent Russian drone strikes near NATO territory, the United States has deployed four additional F-16 fighter aircraft to Romania. NATO AWACS have conducted many flights over Eastern Europe to monitor Russian warplanes since February 2022.
The AWACS will begin their reconnaissance flights over alliance territory in the following days, with the mission scheduled to last several weeks. The aircraft are part of a 14-plane fleet owned by NATO and based in Geilenkirchen, Germany. Around 150 military personnel will deploy to Šiauliai to support the aircraft.