On August 22 the contract of procuring Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) for the Lithuanian Armed Forces was signed at the Ministry of National Defence. 88 IFVs manufactured according to requirements set out by the Lithuanian Armed Forces will be bought for the sum of EUR 385.6 m.
The contract was endorsed by the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, managing directors of ARTEC GmbH, the Boxer IFV manufacturer, Stefan Lischka and Christoph Heuman, and Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR) director Tim Rowntree.
By the contract, combat vehicles manufactured by a German-Dutch consortium with Israeli-made turrets and armed with 30-mm cannons and «Spike LR» antitank missiles are bought for the average price of EUR 4.38 m per one.
Lithuania and the IFV manufacturer agreed that the vehicles will be renamed from «Boxer» to IFV «Vilkas» IFVs to retain the ties with the history of Lithuania and the traditions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The first IFVs «Vilkas» are expected to be delivered in late 2017, and the rest would arrive by 2021.
«The signature today crowns the efforts of the Ministry of National Defence to provide the Lithuanian Armed Forces with quality and value for money product. It is a long-term investment into national defence and also a signal that Lithuania takes its security and investments into it seriously», – Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said.
«Today’s contract signature is a key milestone in the delivery of a modern and highly effective armoured vehicle capability to Lithuania. Within less than eight months, our strong joint team from Lithuania, Germany, The Netherlands, the BOXER industry and OCCAR have developed this highly capable and value for money package, which will provide Lithuania with world class capability and flexibility for decades to come. I and my team are honoured to play our role in delivering this vital programme for the defence and security of Lithuania and I am delighted to welcome Lithuania to the OCCAR community», – OCCAR director Tim Rowntree said.
The new IFVs will be distributed to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalions of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf.
«The IFVs will provide greater mobility, force protection and firepower for the battalions and the entire Brigade. In operational terms, we will not only have the ability to take troops to the battlefield safely, but also to be effective on the battlefield as we destroy armoured and unarmoured targets at the distance of up to 4 km/2.5 miles. In technical term, our units will be better at integration and operation side by side with our allies», – Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said.
Prior to signing the IFV procurement contract the memorandum of understanding between Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania, the Ministry of Defence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany was signed.
Another contract signed by representatives of OCCAR and Lithuania defined the scope, guidelines and authority of cooperation of Lithuania and OCCAR.
Lithuania joined the OCCAR Boxer Programme and authorised OCCAR to supervise execution of the procurement project and conduct qualitative expertise of the «Vilkas» IFVs vehicles bought. As part of the Boxer Programme, Lithuania will benefit from all the advantages offered: smaller development and maintenance costs, sharing technologies, and better interoperability with other participants of the programme.
The Boxer IFVs manufactured by ARTEC, a joint venture of German Krauss-MaffeiWegmann and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, and Dutch Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland, were selected for the needs of the Lithuanian Armed Forces as the best value for money choice and as fulfilling additional Lithuanian Armed Forces’ requirements for maximum personnel protection and delivery time.