Lithuania wants to acquire 50 battle tanks to arm its new mechanized division

Like the two other Baltic states, Lithuania, which joined NATO in March 2004 and the European Union 2 months later, devotes a relatively large part of its wealth to its armies, with a defense effort reaching 2,53% of GDP in 2023, while the country shares a border of 227 km with Russia (Enclave of Kaliningrad) and 567 km with its Belarusian ally. Its armed forces today consist of 23.000 active professional soldiers, mostly in the land forces, and 28.000 reservists forming, in particular, one of the country's 3 brigades, the Aukštaitija light brigade formed in 2017. In addition, the country hosts permanent NATO deployments, at the Šiauliai air base with a detachment of 4 fighters as part of the Baltic Air Policy mission, as well as a mechanized battalion of 3.700 men under German command deployed in the country since 2017 as a reassurance measure in the face of rising tensions with Russia.

Besides the reserve Aukštaitija brigade, the Lithuanian land forces consist of two brigades, a mechanized infantry brigade in the Kaunas region, and a motorized infantry brigade based in Klaipėda on the Baltic coast. These are equipped today with 89 German-Dutch 8×8 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles acquired in 2017 and whose delivery will continue until 2026, as well as 260 second-hand acquired M113 armored personnel carriers with the Bundeswehr in the early 2000s. If the order for 120 additional Boxers is under discussion, and if the country has also invested in powerful heavy mobile artillery with 21 PZH-2000 tracked self-propelled guns in service, as well as 18 French CAESAR NGs and 8 American Himars ordered this year, the two Lithuanian brigades however clearly lack firepower in direct fire and shielding, if they were to face, alongside their NATO allies, a Russian offensive.

CAESAR NG e1672750529410 Analysis Defense | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts | MBT battle tanks
Lithuania joined the CAESAR NG program last June, for which it announced the acquisition of 18 systems

This is why the country plans to acquire a fleet of 50 combat tanks in order to arm a new battalion, in an overall effort to increase the operational size of its ground forces up to the level of a division. mechanized. The information, initially disclosed by Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, was confirmed yesterday by Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupšys, Chief of Staff of the Lithuanian Armies. The fact is, with 17.000 men assembled in 2 professional brigades, the bulk of the 28.000 reservists in a light brigade, as well as a mechanized fleet fielding 50 heavy tanks, 209 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles, 39 modern 155 mm tubes and 8 long-range, high-precision rocket launchers and protected by 2 NASAMS medium-range anti-aircraft batteries, the Lithuanian division will probably not have much to envy the French, British or Italian divisions, if indeed these countries are actually able to deploy a mechanized division, even though with only 2,8 million inhabitants and a GDP of $70 billion, the country has only 4% of the population and 2,3% of the wealth of a country like France.


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3 Comments

  1. To want the leadership of European defense and at the same time, to privilege Africa which denigrates us and expels us to the detriment of the northern European countries….
    Do not understand the position of our young president.
    There are sometimes contradictions which can only astonish me.

    • That's the whole paradox. But the executive is not the only one involved here. Since 2000, of the 7 CEMATs, 5 have come from the light forces (TDM, legion) and two from the ABC. None of the artillery, the ALAT, the engineers etc. There is a strong predominance of projection forces in the hierarchy of the TA, and this is also felt in the material arbitrations. As such, we are the European country with by far the most light-medium armour, whether in absolute value or in value relative to the size of the force. It's not by chance

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