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Lithuania Bolsters Defense Capabilities with Successful Completion of Vilkas IFV Procurement

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Lithuania Bolsters Defense Capabilities with Successful Completion of Vilkas IFV Procurement

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Lithuania Bolsters Defense Capabilities with Successful Completion of Vilkas IFV Procurement
Lithuania Bolsters Defense Capabilities with Successful Completion of Vilkas IFV Procurement

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has finished the procurement of the Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs): last vehicles arrived in Lithuania late last year completing the delivery of the 89 purchased infantry fighting vehicles and 2 prototype vehicles. Two battalions of the Iron Wolf Brigade have been full furnished with the new equipment. Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas reviewed the Lithuanian Armed Forces acquisition of critical importance saying that combat power of a brigade upgraded with such equipment matched top NATO standards. A. Anušauskas notes that the impressive results required significant effort over the past years. The ministry of National Defence conducted intense negotiations with the manufacturers in 2021-2022 agreeing on the desired system upgrades and additional test trials because the Vilkas IFVs delivered by 2020 had flaws. As a result of the upgrades, all the Vilkas IFVs have no operation restrictions since late 2022.

Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)
Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)

“Our Infantry Fighting Vehicles boasting superior armor and crew protection against mines are among the best across NATO. These IFVs, the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles JLTV, PzH2000 howitzers, Javelin anti-tank unit and the RBS-70 short-range air defence unit means the Iron Wolf Brigade is a NATO brigade with the most advanced equipment and now multifold more capable. The number of infantry fighting vehicles in our Armed Forces have quadrupled in three years and all operation restrictions have been fixed. The IFVs are no capable of destroying tanks and other heavy armor targets with Spike missiles and neutralize smaller, lighter or not armored targets with the 30 mm cannon at the same time. Our “Wolves” will also get drone jamming and other electronic defence upgrades,” says A. Anušauskas and also underscores the importance of additional procurements carried out in the recent years in support of the Vilkas IFV use.

Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)
Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)

The Vilkas project conducted under contracts signed back in 2016 has cost Lithuania approx. EUR 670 million. The amount covers not just the IFVs but also logistical support, spare parts and the ammunition in full. 89 of 91 Lithuanian Vilkas/Wolf will be fitted with the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II RCT turret mounting a fully stabilised Orbital ATK Mk 44S 30 mm dual-feed cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial MG, and Spike-LR missiles. A range of turret options were bid including the unmanned Lance turret from the PSM Puma IFV, however the selected vehicle mounts the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II RCT armed with a 30 mm cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial MG, and Spike-LR missiles. Lithuania will receive four variants of the IFV, 55 IFV squad leader, 18 IFV platoon leader; 12 IFV company leader; 4 IFV command post. Variants vary by mission fit primarily in the areas of additional voice and data communication equipment as well as modified BMS. Two driver training vehicles are also included in the Lithuanian order.

Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)
Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)

The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The governments participating in the Boxer programme have changed as the programme has developed. The Boxer vehicle is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (armoured vehicle technology) industrial group, and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). ARTEC GmbH is based in Munich; its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles GmbH on the German side, and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V. for the Netherlands. Overall, Rheinmetall has a 64% stake in the joint venture. A distinctive and unique feature of the vehicle is its composition of a drive platform module and interchangeable mission modules which allow several configurations to meet different operational requirements.

Lithuania Bolsters Defense Capabilities with Successful Completion of Vilkas IFV Procurement
Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). (Photo by SSgt A. ?emerka / Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence)

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