2019.11.21 11:00

Lithuania signs €145m deal to buy American armoured vehicles

BNS 2019.11.21 11:00

Lithuania signed an agreement on Thursday to purchase 200 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) from the United States, a deal worth 145 million euros.

The JLTVs will be manufactured by Oshkosh Defense.

The vehicles are to be delivered to Lithuania between late 2021 and 2024 and will be allocated to the Land Force and Special Operations Forces

“This will strengthen the support of the Land Force and Special Operations Forces, and will enhance specific intelligence, artillery and logistics capabilities,” Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis told reporters after the signing ceremony.

“It is the most advanced light tactical vehicle in the world today, with excellent characteristics and security for soldiers. It will be used for decades,” he added.

This is Lithuania's second-biggest military purchase deal after the acquisition of Boxer infantry fighting vehicles from Germany.

Under the agreement, Lithuania will be able to buy another 300 vehicles if needed. According to Karoblis, Lithuania will decide on this by the end of the first phase of the contract in 2024.

Lithuania needs the JLTVs both for its defence needs and for international operations, he said.

Sigitas Dzekunskas, the director of the Defence Materiel Agency, which signed the agreement, told reporters that the vehicles would be equipped for different tasks and have more than ten configurations.

Marcus Micheli, the chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Vilnius, said the deal is “more than just a purchase”.

“This is a really strong symbol and sign of incredibly strong and productive relationship between the US and Lithuania,” the diplomat said.

Oshkosh Defense Vice-President Mike Ivy said such JLTVs are used by the US military, and Slovenia, Montenegro, and the United Kingdom are planning to buy them, too.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently use HMMWV and Toyota Land Cruiser 200 armored all-terrain vehicles.

Read more: Lithuania to sign second-biggest military purchase deal in November