The Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai will get de-icing equipment for aircraft. It will be acquired according to an agreement signed by the Ministry of National Defence and the AF Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate (AFSACD) on behalf of the Government of the United States of America.
The new equipment – a de-icer car – will be capable of removing ice from aircraft at the necessary height which will allow the Šiauliai Air Base to support bigger aircraft of the Alliance, such as C-17 – one of the largest transport aircraft capable of moving big numbers of soldiers and big amounts of cargo, or C-5 Galaxy of even bigger height.
The procurement for the Lithuanian Air Force Base will fill a critical capability gap and allow the Base personnel to carry out cold weather operations, as well as support the NATO Air Policing Mission. The equipment will also be very useful for providing servicing for the aircraft of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group-contributing countries and other NATO allies at the Air Base.
The agreement of approximate value of USD 1.03 million is financed from the Security Assistance Fund (ESAF). It covers de-icing equipment, spare parts and add-ons, administration and transportation fees.
According to Commander of the Šiauliai Air Base Lt Col Antanas Matutis, C-17 is currently the main strategic transport aircraft for transferring equipment, vehicles and personnel. “Such aircraft cannot be sent to the Air Base if we do not have equipment for de-icing aircraft of this type,” the officer says.
The equipment is planned to be delivered to the Air Base in Šiauliai within two years – two years and a half from signing the agreement.
According to the provisions of the agreement, one de-icer is sold through the AFSACD PROS, a system through which parts and add-ons for the de-icer can be acquired.
In the recent years Lithuania’s procurement from the U.S. has grown significantly, cooperation of defence industries is also increasing. The ministry of National Defence is currently in negotiations with the U.S. department of Defence for procuring JLTV all-terrain vehicles.