March 31, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Four Dutch F-16 fighter jets will replace their Norwegian colleagues to patrol the airspace of three Baltic states from April through June, Lithuania's Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
NATO QRA Baltics 2005 (Rene W. Kleingeerts Collection)
The airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been guardedby NATO
since the three former Soviet republics joined the military alliance in March 2004.
Two F-16s arrived at the Zokniai airbase near the northern Lithuanian city of Siauliai on Tuesday and another two will arriveon Thursday, said the information office of the Defense Ministry.
Over 50 troops will also arrive at the airbase on Thursday, said the office.
In the latter half of this year, Germany and the United States will patrol the Baltic sky for three months each. Belgian, Danish and British air forces have undertaken the mission in the past year.