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VILNIUS, March 31. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO Air Force maneuvres with the participation of warplanes of Lithuania, the United States, as well as the alliance’s partner - Sweden, will be held in Lithuania over the next two days. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry reported on Monday that the air maneuvres would be launched on April 1.
“The maneuvres will focus on drilling search and rescue operations, as well as interaction of the Air Force with civil aviation,” the ministry said. The maneuvres involve the American fighters F-15C Eagle and KC-135 tanker aircraft, deployed at Lithuania’s Zokniai air base from where NATO partners, rotating every four months, patrol the sky over the Baltic countries. Germany sends to the maneuvres an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane, Lithuania - the C-27J Spartan transport plane of its Air Force and a Mil Mi-8 helicopter. The alliance’s partner Sweden will send to the manoeuvres the Gripen fighters.
According to the exercise scenario, ground forces lose contact with the transport Spartan place that is above the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s Gripen fighters take off after that. Finland is requested to permit entry in its airspace to a plane that lost communication, and for its further leading the American F-15C Eagle aircraft take off from the Zokniai air base to replace the Swedish fighters.
The maneuvres are held under the leadership of the NATO Allied Air Command, located at the Ramstein air base and at the Combined Air Operations Centre at the Uedem air base.