The Ämari Air Base in Estonia will undergo reconstruction in 2024, during which the Baltic airspace will be secured from Latvia and Lithuania. After the reconstruction is completed, the allied fighter jets will return to Estonia.
“Baltic defence cooperation really has strong wind under its wings. I am glad that Latvia is ready to temporarily host NATO Air Policing from the Lielvārde Air base during the Ämari reconstruction, in close cooperation with our two countries,” said Pevkur, while meeting with the Minister of Defence of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece on Sunday.
“The Baltic States have developed very close cooperation in strengthening regional security and the decision to station NATO air policing fighter mission in Lielvārde Air Base in 2024, during the renovation of Ämari Air Base in Estonia, is another excellent example of it,” said Minister of Defence of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece.
“This will allow us to improve the infrastructure of the Ämari Air Base, which has been in heavy use since 2014, and therefore develop the security of Estonia and the region in general. During this period, the air space over Estonia and the entire Baltic region will continually be secured,” added Pevkur.
The Air Policing mission rotations will move from Ämari to the Latvian Air Base Lielvārde from spring to autumn in 2024. In addition, air security will be ensured by allied fighter jets deployed to the Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania.
The reconstruction works will include the surfaces of the air traffic area and technical systems.
“The Russian war in Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the importance of air defence. A good infrastructure is the prerequisite for cooperation with allies and hosting their air defence systems,” said minister Pevkur.
The move to Latvia from spring to autumn in 2024 is temporary. The first post-reconstruction Air Policing mission from Ämari will start at the beginning of 2025.
According to a decision of the North Atlantic Council, allied air forces of NATO member states have secured the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a rotational basis since 29 March, 2004, when the Baltic States became NATO members. The NATO Air Policing mission has been operating out of the Ämari Air Base since 2014.
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