“These systems enhance our air defense capacities. Previously, we had the capacities for air defense only against the aircraft flying at low altitudes of up to 5 kilometers. Now we can cover the altitudes of up to 10 kilometers and slightly higher. The missile range has also increased. All systems will be integrated with other defense systems, such as fire control centers, communication systems,” he told BNS.

Such an air defense shield would now enable to cover the territory between Vilnius and Kaunas, Rupsys said adding that the system would be integrated into the NATO integrated air defense system in the long run.

The next stage of development of the medium-range air defense systems had been scheduled after 2030, Rupsys said.

“It is not a cheap system and it is necessary to learn how it should be operated, integrated. It is a major step forward and, as regards the region, Lithuania is the first among the Baltic countries,” Lithuania’s Chief of Defense pointed out.

The NASAMS medium-range air-defense systems procured from Norway were delivered to the Air Defense Battalion of the Lithuanian Air Force in mid-June.

NASAMS is the most widely used medium-range air defense system in NATO member countries, including to protect airspace around the White House.

The procured NASAMS systems comprise fire control centers, missile launchers and communications equipment, etc.

Lithuania has also upgraded the RBS70 short-range air defense systems it has been using and will integrate both systems.

Lithuania purchased the mid-range air defense system under a 110-million-euro contract that the Defense Ministry signed with Norway's Kongsberg on October 26, 2017.