On June 25 first 2 of 88 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) “Vilkas” were delivered to Lithuania. After a year of intense testing in training areas and testing centres of Germany and the Netherlands, serial production of the squad-level fighting vehicles for the Lithuanian Armed Forces has started.
IFVs “Vilkas” have been made by a German manufacturer ARTEC, according to the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The vehicles have Israel-made turrets, 30 mm MK-44S cannons and “Spike LR” anti-tank missiles, other specialised equipment and electronic systems.
The first IFVs “VIlkas” will be delivered to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion in Rukla to carry out acceptance procedures and after that formally given for using in the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
According to the 385.6 million euros contract made in 2016 by Lithuania, the IFV manufacturer ARTEC, and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), all 88 Lithuanian purchased IFVs “Vilkas” will be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces until late 2021. It is planned that 15 IFVs “Vilkas” will be delivered to Lithuania in 2019.
The combination of the IFV “Vilkas” firepower, manoeuvrability and crew protection meets the demands of the Lithuanian Armed Forces best in terms of national defence and international deployments. The IFVs “Vilkas” will be used by the Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf” units – Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion.
Lithuania, together with the Netherlands and Germany, is a part of the IFV Boxer Supply and Maintenance Program of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). It ensures an appropriate logistical provision of the infantry fighting vehicles bought by the Lithuanian Armed Forces — the possibility to use collective IFV spare parts and central depots and repair capabilities for principal IFV systems, to receive technical and engineer support, etc., when the IFVs are operated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces have also been using two DTVs “Boxer” without the weaponry systems since 2017 specifically for training military drivers. The initial in-service logistical support package includes spare parts, support and test equipment, technical and training documentation, and training equipment is also received.
In order to keep the link with the history of Lithuania and traditions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, it was agreed by the IFV manufacturer and Lithuania that the IFVs produced according to Lithuania’s requirements would be called “Vilkas” instead of “Boxer”.