Four Dutch fighters arrived in Lithuania as part of NATO mission

On the 2nd of January 2017, four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets of the Dutch Air Force landed at the Lithuanian airbase in Šiauliai. As reported, the contingent of the Royal Netherlands Air Force will take over the NATO air policing mission in the Baltics from the 5th of January. It will consist of approximately 120 people.

The Dutch servicemen will replace their French colleagues, who have been on duty with four Mirage 2000 fighter jets for four months. The contingent of the German Air Force with four Eurofighter Typhoon jets will remain in Estonia for NATO air policing for another rotation.

The New York Times wrote that dozens of servicemen from the U.S. Special Operations Forces were deployed in the Baltic States in order to strengthen the defense capability of the states and the U.S. capacity to identify threats from Russia. “The Baltic States are terribly afraid of Russia. They don’t hide it,” the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, General Raymond Thomas, said about the situation.

U.S. Special Forces have been quietly deployed in the Baltics for several months, sending a clear signal to Moscow. “Do Russians know that we are here?” General Thomas said. “Yes, they know.”

The New York Times wrote that the Baltic States have significantly increased their expenditures on defense in response to potential threats from Moscow. Lithuania and Latvia demonstrated the greatest progress in this issue. For its part, Estonia should allocate 2% of its GDP to defense in 2017. This year, in addition to national capacity, the NATO multinational battalions will strengthen the defense of the Baltic States.

  Lithuania, Baltic States, USA, Aircraft, Russia