NATO 19 Apr 2013
The fourteenth Baltic Region Training Event (BRTE XIV) took place on 16 and 17 April 2013 in the skies over the Baltic Region, Sweden and Poland to sharpen skills of aircrews and air controllers in responding to unexpected events in Alliance airspace.
During the first day, a Lithuanian C-27J transport aircraft took off from Šiauliai, Lithuania, and flew into Swedish airspace heading for Finland and started to fly a triangular pattern indicating that it had lost its radio communications. Sweden launched a two-aircraft patrol called Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) or QRA (I) that was tasked to approach the C-27J and that subsequently escorted it towards Baltic airspace. The C-27J was then handed over to two Danish F-16s from the NATO QRA (I) tasked with the Baltic Air Policing mission. On the return flight all three aircraft conducted a low approach at Kaunas airfield in the early afternoon before returning to Šiauliai airbase.
On day two a similar lost communications scenario took place with a Polish C-295M transport aircraft, which the Danish F-16s met in Baltic airspace. The C-295M was escorted back to the Polish border, where it was handed over to Polish MiG-29 fighters and accompanied back to Krakow, Poland. Following this one Danish F-16 simulated an air emergency, a weapons jettison and a crew ejection in the area of Rukla Range, Lithuania.
The scenario in BRTE XIV allowed aircrews to practice Air Policing skills and techniques. It also offered air controllers in the various civilian and military Air C2 centres an opportunity to cooperate and liaise with one another.
"Three BRTEs are planned and organised each year by Headquarters Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) at Ramstein, Germany, and the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany. The fact that we have been conducting this series for almost five years now – together with the Baltic Air Policing that started in 2004 – reflects NATO’s continued commitment to the Baltic States at the north-eastern flank of the Alliance,” said Squadron Leader Antony Jackson, GBR Air Force, the project officer for the BRTE series at HQ AIRCOM.
In the new NATO Command Structure, HQ AIRCOM is the Alliance single air command responsible for all Air Power issues across the entire NATO airspace from the Northern Norway to Southern Italy and from the Azores to Eastern Turkey. In addition to the Air Policing mission throughout this area of responsibility, AIRCOM is also in charge of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence.
HQ AIRCOM is currently providing operational control for the Allied real-world deployment at its south-eastern flank, in Turkey, protecting the NATO member with PATRIOT systems against the potential missile threat posed by Syria.
View images of the BRTE here:
NATO AIR FORCES HONE SKILLS IN BALTICS