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US F-35 at Šiauliai AB

On July 18th F-35A Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft of the United States Air Force (USAF) landed at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai. They joined the F-15E fighters and C-130 mobility aircraft that arrived in Lithuania at the earlier date to take part in the air defence Operation ‘Rapid Forge’, for the first time held in our region.

The F-35A fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania / Picture: Sgt Spc Ieva Budzeikaitė, Lithuanian MoD

I am happy and proud that soldiers of the Lithuanian Air Force are doing their part of the work in the exercise professionally. They have shown their ability to deconflict and assign airspace, control the most cutting-edge aircraft, carry out land-based air defence and to render Host Nation Support properly, said Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force, Col. Dainius Guzas.

The F-35A carried out refuelling at the Šiauliai Airbase from where the 5th generation aircraft took off to train air-to-air battle in the Lithuanian airspace while receiving tactical air control from the Combined Control and Reporting Centre Karmėlava. Land-based air defence was ensured by the Air Defence Battalion of the Lithuanian Air Force.

From July 23rd to July 25th American fighter aircraft are planned to conduct fire support training in the Lithuanian airspace and practice destroying ground-based targets in Kazlų Rūda Training Area.  Members of Lithuanian and U.S. special forces as well as partners from other services will direct fire support strikes towards ground-based targets and ensure integration.

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