The Defence Materiel Agency under the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has signed a contract with Sweden’s SAAB Dynamics AB on acquisition of Bolide and MK-2 type guided missiles for RBS-70 short-range anti-aircraft defence system. According to Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas, with the growing trajectory of defence spending, Lithuania becomes able to step up defence procurement and ensure a better readiness of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Lithuania learns from Ukraine’s lessons and focuses on investing in air defence: acquires air defence systems, strengthens airspace surveillance and control, and strengthens the Host Nation Support to ensure the ability to receive allies quickly and efficiently.
RBS 70 (Robotsystem 70) is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) designed for anti-aircraft warfare in all climate zones and with little to no support from other forces. Originally designed and manufactured by the Swedish defence firm of Bofors Defence (now Saab Bofors Dynamics, since 2000). It uses the RB 70 missile which is also in use in a number of other Swedish missile systems. Mk 1 and Mk 2 followed shortly and are the standard RBS 70 with a range of 5,000–6,000 m and a ceiling of 3,000 m. Currently, RBS 70 is operational in 18 customer countries, on all continents and in arctic, desert, and tropical environments.
RBS-70 MK-2 systems are used by the Lithuanian Air Defence Battalion. The short-range system was picked for its undemanding operation, mobility and being completely mechanical and electromagnetic interference-proof. The BOLIDE missile is an RBS 70 Mk 2 upgrade that is faster (Mach 2 vs Mach 1.6), with a range up to 8 km (5.0 mi) and can reach an altitude of 6 km. The Bolide missiles are an advance version of the MK-2, the improved engine adds speed and manoeuvre, as well as expands the altitude and distance parameters. The value of the contract totals up to approx. EUR 45 million.
Lithuania is an element of the collective defence architecture of the Alliance and maintains readiness for defence of the country and the entire Alliance alongside other Allies. Defence plans are also improved via regular exercises so that the Alliance space is comprehensively secured against any aggression. NATO draws and consistently updates defence plans that ensure the collective response to crises or conflicts. NATO fighter capabilities have been conducting air policing functions in the Baltic states since 2004. During peacetime, NATO fighter aircraft are patrolling the Baltic skies and respond to airspace trespassing thus contributing to airspace surveillance and control.