On Tuesday two 3D radars started conducting air surveillance tasks from control posts in Southern and Western Lithuania, the radars are to reach full operational capacity as of 2019, said the country's Defense Ministry in a statement.
The Lithuanian Defense Ministry says its radars are "the most advanced military radars in the region".
Previously, the country's armed forces operated outdated Soviet radars. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry says the new NATO standard long-range radars are manufactured by Spanish company INDRA.
The air surveillance upgrade will allow "visibility on air traffic way beyond the nation's borders", according to the ministry.
"Cutting-edge systems installed in the radars will help ensure uninterrupted and effective airspace and border area surveillance, air policing functions, response to possible airspace violation, and warning of potential threats," Lieutenant Colonel Aras Rimkus, the Commander of the Lithuanian Airspace Surveillance and Control Command, was quoted as saying the announcement.
In total, new radar systems and air surveillance infrastructure modernization costed the country around 60 million euros, according to the information from the Lithuanian Defense Ministry.
Lithuania, NATO's eastern-flank member country by the Baltic Sea, does not have its own air-policing capabilities to ensure air defense and has been dependent on rotating Baltic air-policing missions deployed by the allied countries in Lithuania since 2004.
Lithuania says that the new radars altogether with the new infrastructure is the country's "largest contribution so far" to national and NATO collective defense capabilities.
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