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    A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet prepares to land on the runway during a military exercise at the Osan U.S. Air Base in Osan, South Korea, Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    US Aircraft, 900 Airmen Join 2017 NATO ‘Baltic Operations’ Exercise - Pentagon

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    The US Air Force is contributing 900 airmen, eight F-16 fighter jets, four KC-135 Stratotanker and an E-3 AWACS aircraft to the annual two-week Baltic Operations (Baltops) exercise, according to a US Department of Defense press release on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the Polish Defense Ministry announced that the maritime drill involving 14 NATO nations had begun in Poland’s northern port city of Szczecin.

    "The exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, to strengthen combined response capabilities, as well as demonstrate resolve among Allied and Partner Nations' forces to ensure stability in, and if necessary defend, the Baltic Sea region," the release stated.

    NATO has stepped up operations in response to tensions with Russia that developed following a US-backed coup that ousted an elected government in Ukraine — a government which had sought closer ties with Moscow.

    This year’s Baltops exercise is slated to end June 16.

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    Tags:
    Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, Airborne early Warning and Control System (AWACS), F-16 fighter jet, NATO, Poland, United States
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