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Lithuania takes delivery of first 50 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles from the US

Lithuanian Army JLTV handover
Photo: Lithuanian defense ministry

The Lithuanian defense ministry has taken delivery of the first batch of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) from US military vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense.

The first 50 of the overall 200 vehicles that are to be delivered under a contract from 2019 were handed over on August 17 in a ceremony at the Lithuanian Army’s “Iron Wolf” Mechanized Infantry Brigade headquarters in Rukla.

They were shipped from the US to Germany and from there to Lithuania. The training of Lithuanian troops on the JLTVs is already underway in Rukla and Kazlų Rūda.

All of the acquired JLTVs and related equipment, weapons, tools and spare parts are scheduled to be transferred to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by 2024. The vehicles were delivered without mounted turrets, but will receive them, and 12.7 mm machine guns in the near future.

“We are very pleased to see the JLTV armoured all-terrain vehicles in Lithuania today. This acquisition from the US is one of the most important steps in the modernisation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. We are very happy that our military cooperation with the US is growing and that together we can contribute to the security of NATO’s Eastern flank,” said Lithuania’s vice minister for defense Margiris Abukevicius.

The acquisition of the JLTVs is part of the modernization program of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, which also includes the purchase of the Vilkas (Boxer) infantry fighting vehicles and PZH 2000 self-propelled howitzers. They will complement and upgrade the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ all-terrain vehicle fleet, which is currently made up of HMMWV (Humvee) all-terrain vehicles.

Photo: Lithuanian defense ministry

Lithuania is the third European country to receive the JLTV, after Montenegro and Slovenia received their first vehicles in October 2020 and May 2021. The biggest European customer for the Oshkosh Defense built JLTVs is Belgium with a 322-vehicle contract from last year.

In addition to European customers, the JLTV is replacing the Humvee currently in service with all branches of the US military. The acquisition is led by the US Army, in collaboration with the US Marine Corps. Compared to the Humvee, JLTVs have a greater survivability rate and a greater payload. They are also more fuel efficient and reliable.

JLTVs are air-transportable (CH-47 and CH-53 helicopters; C-130, C-5, C-17 and A400 Cargo fixed-wing aircraft) and can be delivered in a multitude of versions ranging from general purpose to heavy guns carrier. The vehicles come with integrated C4ISR capabilities and have a payload of 2,313 kg in the two-door configuration, and 1,587 kg in four-door configuration.