Netherlands, Lithuania to Practice Patriot Air Defense Systems in Eastern Flank Exercise

The Netherlands will send Patriot weapon systems to Lithuania for a bilateral exercise at NATO’s eastern flank.

The activity supports ongoing military cooperation between Amsterdam and Vilnius to fortify air defenses in the region.

Under the forthcoming exercise, the Lithuanian and Dutch armed forces will train “side-by-side” to improve their “agility and speed” in operating the Patriot air defense platforms.

The event will also include preparations for rapid transport of corresponding equipment and ground troops during deployments.

The Dutch government wrote that some of the drills will be facilitated on “specific terrain” managed by NATO.

The exercise will commence in the summer and will run for several weeks.

“With this exercise in Lithuania, the Dutch unit contributes to the preparedness of NATO air defense,” Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren stated.

“It is also an important signal to our allies on the Eastern flank: you can count on the Netherlands, also for the defense of the airspace.”

NATO Rotational Air Defense Model

The bilateral exercise also aligns with NATO’s Rotational Air Defense Model introduced at the organization’s Vilnius Summit last year.

This framework promotes rehearsals for “smooth and quick transitions” related to air defense tasks, bolstering the alliance’s capabilities to secure the aerial domain.

Lithuania said that the Rotational Air Defense Model will operate alongside NATO’s existing Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States.

Patriot missile system fired in Greece
German soldiers fire the Patriot air defense missile system at the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) during Exercise Artemis Strike in Chania, Greece on November 7, 2017. Image: Officer Candidate Sebastian Apel, Air Defence Missile Group 24

“Exercises of such character support implementation of the Rotational NATO Air Defence Model approved at the NATO Summit in Vilnius,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Laurynas Kasčiūnas stated.

“We are thankful to the Netherlands for consistently contributing to the Baltic, and especially Lithuania’s security.”

“Deployment of Dutch servicemembers to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group Lithuania, Baltic Air Policing Mission, NATO Force Integration Unit is vital for the Baltic states’ security. This step is also a boost to our cooperation on air defence.”

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