Rafael takes part in Lithuania’s military buildup
29 August, 2016
In Iit largest deal, Lithuanian armed forces acquire 88 armed vehicles from a German-Israeli-Dutch consortium, for more than Euro 385 million
In the largest deal in Lithuanian military history, the Baltic State’s armed forces acquire 88 armed vehicles from a German-Israeli-Dutch consortium, for more than Euro 385 million
The rising tensions on Russian borders are of great concern for its small Baltic neighbors, fearing a fate similar to that of the Ukraine. On the backdrop of the growing rift between Russia and the west, Lithuania is completing its biggest ever arms deal, intended to build up its military power. The Euro 385.6 million order signed in Aug 23 contracted the Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann joint venture ARTEC to supply 88 armed vehicles, equipped with Israeli defense system developer Rafael’s Samson MK II turrets.
The Vehicles ordered by the Lithuanian armed forces will have Rafael Samson MK II remote weapon stations armed with 30mm automatic cannon and Spike LR anti-Tank missiles. Rafel’s turrets have a very low silhouette and a unique under-armor reloading system increasing crew survivability.
A Dutch-German APC
The Lithuanian armed forces chose Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann joint ventur’s Boxer wheeled armored infantry fighting vehicle, produced by Munich based ARTEC GmbH, a subsidiary of the joint venture.
For this project, a German-Israeli-Dutch consortium was established, which priced each vehicle at the cost of $4.38. The APC’s will supplied bin 2017-2021.
Rafael’s Spike-LR missile is defined as a multi-purpose fire and forget guided missile. It is used by infantry and light combat vehicles such as the Boxer. The missile adds fiber-optic communication to and from the launching soldier during flight and has a reported armor penetration capability is more than 700 mm (28 in) of Rolled homogeneous armor (RHA).
The Russian Bear lurks behind the border
The APC’s specifications were developed in cooperation with the OCCAR – Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation – a European intergovernmental organization which facilitates and manages collaborative armament programs through their lifecycle between the nations of Europe.
In its official statement, the Lithuanian Ministry of defense noted the unusual speed in which the contract was prepared “The contract and the Lithuanian entry into the BOXER Program were prepared by Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, OCCAR and ARTEC in less than eight months between January and August 2016”, an unusual phenomena in the European autocratic landscape.
The military cooperation with other European nations stands in the core of Lithuania’s defense doctrine. The rising tensions with Russia have led to the deployment of European and NATO forces in the Baltic state. These take part in the active defense of its borders against Russian airspace infringement.