The Lithuanian defense ministry says it has entered the next phase of negotiations for its purchase of an additional 120 Boxer-based Vilkas infantry fighting vehicles (IFV).
The country’s vice minister of defense, Vilius Semeška, met with representatives of the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) and the manufacturers of the Boxer vehicle on April 19 for talks on the purchase of new IFVs.
Boxer is delivered by the ARTEC consortium, which is composed of German military vehicle specialists Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall.
“Preparations for the negotiations began earlier this year and today we are able to discuss concrete amounts, values and deadlines of a potential order. It is a rational decision, and effective in terms of the defense budget, to carry on with the same infantry fighting vehicle platform,” Semeška said, adding that the decision was made taking into account the lessons from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the vice minister, the contract on the new batch of armored vehicles is expected to be signed as soon as this summer.
The additional 120 IFVs will join the 88 units already ordered under a 386 million euro contract from August 2016. The first two units were delivered in 2019.
Lithuania’s IFVs are equipped with Israeli-made turrets, US-made 30 mm MK-44S cannons and Israeli-made anti-armor Spike LR missiles, as well as with other specialized equipment and electronic systems.
The new batch of vehicles would be armed with either 30 mm cannons or 12.7 mm machine guns and would begin deliveries in late 2023 or early 2024, should a definitive contract be signed this summer.
Boxer is a 8×8 wheeled armored vehicle available in a number of variants thanks to its modular architecture. To date, some 1,500 vehicles in twenty different versions have been ordered by Australia and four NATO countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. Australia, a close partner of NATO, has already taken delivery of a first shipment of 25 Boxer vehicles.