Government give go-ahead to BALTNET NATO air security ratification

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (left) signing the original BALTNET agreement with defense ministers from Latvia and Lithuania last October. Source: Ministry of Defence

The coalition government has green-lighted an agreement which will see the Baltic Air Surveillance Network and Control System (BALTNET), a NATO body which previously had its main center in Lithuania, superseded by a new network of national control and reporting centers.

The bill will now need to be ratified by the Riigikogu, BNS reports.

The government gave the go-ahead to the bill, paving the way for the BALTNET configuration to be ratified by all three Baltic States. The agreement itself was signed by the defense ministers of the three countries in Brussels in late September last year.

The agreement will see the current central control center closing, and being replaced by a new BALTNET set-up which should ensure airspace integrity across the three countries via national control and reporting centers (totalling four in Estonia alone) which can substitute for one another in their duties, according to BNS.

The original BALTNET system, established in 1999, comprised a common control and reporting center in Lithuania, with national centers in Estonia and Latvia.

BALTNET's aims were to coordinate information exchange between the national air surveillance systems Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, standardizing surveillance and the exchange of information with third parties.

As part of NATO's air defense system, BALTNET also provides air control and tactical management in air policing operations.

The agreement needs Riigikogu ratification as it will supersede a prior agreement, ratified by the Riigikogu, and the national parliaments of Latvia and Lithuania, in October 2007.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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