The Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Lithuania plans to buy additional Vilkas infantry fighting vehicles from the ARTEC consortium.
According to a press release from the ministry, the last 23 Vilkas (Wolf) fighting vehicles bought for the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the first stage are scheduled to arrive in Lithuania this summer.
The greater part of the acquired Boxer-platform IFVs has already been delivered and used to fully equip the Algirdas Infantry Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, while the remainder is arriving this summer to be commissioned to Birutė Uhlan Battalion.
All the vehicles in Lithuania are operated without any restrictions and are intensely used for exercise. All the vehicles will have updated software installed. The upgrade is ready and in the process of integration and trial planning while the final documentation is being prepared.
“Our decision to acquire a weaponry system that had not been on the market until that point meant that we needed to understand and assess the potential risks. Finally, we are able to welcome the vehicles we’ll have no restrictions of use for thanks to an intense collaboration with companies of Germany and Israel and contract administrator organizations,” says Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.
The Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles are produced by the German ARTEC consortium (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V.) in line with the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The vehicles have Israeli-made remote weapon station turrets, U.S.-made 30 mm MK-44S cannons and Israel’s Spike LR anti-tank missiles, as well as other integrated specialized equipment and electronic systems. The contract is implemented under supervision of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).
Negotiations for the second stage of procurement were opened last year. The Ministry of National Defence plans to purchase over 120 more Boxer IFVs for the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The required information for the successive acquisition has been presented to OCCAR and consulted about with ARTEC. The Defence Materiel Agency under the MoD is waiting for ARTEC to formulate the commercial offer to enter the next phase of negotiations.
“The decision to start the second stage of the IVF Vilkas acquisition was made taking into account military advice, market analysis, assessment of alternative platforms and maintenance costs. The supply available on the market and the needs of the Lithuanian Armed Forces have led us to keep to the Boxer platform,” says Minister A. Anušauskas.
Companies in the Lithuanian industry will be incentivized to participate in IFV Vilkas development as well, as positions are currently being coordinated with Germany’s Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann on the extent and content of Lithuanian industrial involvement. The negotiations concern not only the contribution Lithuanian companies could make to Boxer production but also the opportunity for wider cooperation by entering the international supply chains of German manufacturers.
The contract for the second stage of procurement is planned to be prepared and signed as soon as this fall.