Lithuanian and U.S. forces conduct joint air operations training 

Lithuanian and U.S. forces conduct joint air operations training 

On May 6–17 Lithuanian Air Force-conducted exercise Vigilant Falcon 2024 and international exercise Astral Knight 2024 which involves U.S. military personnel flying F-16s in Lithuania are running in Kaunas and Šiauliai areas.

“We are generating a safe environment so that Allied aircraft may deploy and when they do as part of Exercise Astral Knight, we as a Host Nation deliver on our key responsibility to ensure airspace security,” said Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Col Antanas Matutis said.

Staff of the Lithuanian Air Force headquarters, Air Base, Air Defence Battalion, Airspace Surveillance and Control Command and Armament and Equipment Repair Depot are training execution of different defensive tasks at Exercise Vigilant Falcon.  State Border Guard officers, air navigation specialists and members of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union train alongside in the exercise as well.

Exercise Astral Knight run in Lithuania only in one portion, the other parts being conducted in Poland and Romania where U.S. Allied fighter aircraft are deployed as well. The U.S. units training air operations with F-16 fighter jets with the Lithuanian forces are the U.S. Air Force 31st Fighter Wing, U.S. Air Force 20th Attack Squadron, and the Marine Air Control Squadron 24.

The two exercises are integrated: the Lithuanian Air Force is ensuring Host Nation Support to the training Allies and air defence during fighter aircraft combat training.

It is a part of the larger training cycle running in Lithuania this spring with over 20.000 military personnel from Lithuania and other NATO Allies.  

Photo credits: SSgt Spc Ieva Budzeikaitė | Lithuanian Armed Forces