The Ministers of National Defence of Lithuania and Poland agreed on stronger cooperation. Ministers discussed the security situation in the region, national aspirations of both countries, preparations for the NATO Summit in in Vilnius in July, and signed a Joint Communique on further guidelines of the two countries’ defence cooperation. Ministers agreed to intensify bilateral exercises, including border-crossing, and to continue the cooperation in weaponry acquisition with a procurement of additional missiles for the PZR Grom man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) produced by Mesko, a subsidiary of the Polish Armament Group (PGZ), for the worth of over EUR 20 million.
Both Ministers agreed that NATO had to further reinforce the Forward Defence: combat capabilities on the eastern flank of NATO needed to be strengthened to ensure a longtime deterrence of Russia. Lithuania and Poland will join forces for the said result at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, one of the main goals being ensurement of a reliable air and missile defence in the Baltic states. According to A. Anušauskas, the Vilnius Summit also has to aim for a mutual commitment of NATO Allies to spend at least the minimum of 2 percent of GDP on defence. Lithuania’s current defence spending amount to 2.5 percent of GDP which should be the new standard as the Alliance updates its defence investment commitments.
“Both Poland and Lithuania view Russia as a long-term threat to the security of the West and democratic values, as well as the stability of the international system based on mutual trust. Against the backdrop of Moscow’s and Minsk’s saber-rattling, including nuclear, we understand that no concession can be made to the Kremlin regime currently in power. We agree with Poland that we need to work together bilaterally as well as to make use of the NATO and EU options to find a long-term and strong response to the threats Russia poses,” said Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.
The PZR Grom (meaning “thunder” in Polish) is a man-portable very short-range air defence system produced in Poland and based on the Soviet man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM) 9K38 Igla. It consists of a 72 mm anti-aircraft missile set with a flight speed of 650 m/s, as well as a single-use launcher, re-usable gripstock and thermal battery coolant assembly electric unit. The full name of the system is PZR Grom, PZR standing for Przeciwlotniczy Zestaw Rakietowy (literally anti-air rocket-propelled set). It is designed to target low-flying helicopters and aircrafts. As such, the Grom missile is used by other surface-to-air defence systems of Polish design, including ZSU-23-4MP Biala, ZUR-23-2 kg and Poprad self-propelled artillery system.