Vilnius, Sep 29 (IANS) Lithuania will purchase self-propelled howitzers from the German Army, the Lithuanian defense ministry announced on Monday.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces will obtain 21, 155 mm howitzers that have been used by the German army. All in all, Lithuania will purchase 53 pieces of used military equipment, including howitzers for training, spare parts, armoured command vehicles and recovery tanks.
The German Armed Forces are also to instruct the Lithuanian Army on technical maintenance and operation of the purchased equipment, reported Xinhua.
Lithuania will pay 16.2 million euros (about $18 million) for the equipment.
“Germany produces the most modern self-propelled howitzers in the world, and we are happy to find an agreement with Germans in a rather short time. We expect to receive the first howitzers next year,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told Lithuanian national radio LRT.
“Our army will be significantly stronger after this purchase,” he added.
In the ministry’s announcement, Olekas said the decision was made on grounds of “the changed geopolitical situation and lessons learnt from the conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine”.
Overall, the small Baltic state is to spend 58.3 million euros until 2019 to strengthen its artillery.
According to Olekas, the contract will be signed on Tuesday.
In the coming months, Lithuanian authorities are to decide on purchasing armored fighting vehicles.
According to local media reports, Lithuania prefers German manufactured AFVs the Boxer. The purchase, worth around 460 million euros, may become the largest in the history of Lithuanian Army.