After regaining independence from the Soviet Union in September 1991, the Karo Aviacija was re-established on 2 January 1992 by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence. It was initially equipped with some two dozen An-2 transport aircraft. This organisation was renamed Karinés Oro Pajégos (Lithuanian Air Force) on 1 March 1993. A shortage of funds currently limits expansion beyond the present air force strength. Since joining the European Union in 2004, air defence of the Baltic region has been undertaken by a series of detachments of fighters from NATO air forces – the first being KLu F-16s, which operated from Zokniai for three months from 29 March 2004.