Lithuania receives first two Vilkas 8x8s in country
The first two Boxer 8x8 infantry fighting vehicles out of an order for 88 examples have been delivered to Lithuania, with formal introduction and transfer expected to take place on 9 July.
Known as Vilkas in Lithuanian service, the first two were delivered in country on 25 June, the ministry of defence announced on 1 July, and after a year of testing the vehicles in training areas and testing centres in Germany and the Netherlands, serial production of the squad-level fighting vehicles for the Lithuania has started.
Manufactured by the ARTEC consortium comprised of Rheinmetall and KMW, the Vilkas Boxer variant has a Rafael Samson turret, 30mm MK-44S cannon, and Spike LR anti-tank missiles, plus other specialised equipment and electronics systems.
The first of the IFVs will be delivered to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion in Rukla to carry out acceptance procedures, and after that will formally be handed over for use by the armed forces.
Boxer is being procured by Lithuania under a €385.6 million contract signed in 2016 between the government, ARTEC and Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, and all vehicles will be delivered by late 2021, 15 of which will be delivered in 2019.
The combination of the IFV Vilkas firepower, manoeuvrability and crew protection meets the demands of the Lithuanian armed forces in terms of national defence and international deployments, the MoD says.
Vilkas vehicles will be used by the mechanised infantry brigade ‘Iron Wolf’ units, which includes the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan battalion unit in addition to the Grand Duke Algirdas mechanised infantry battalion.
Lithuania, together with the Netherlands and Germany, is a part of the IFV Boxer supply and maintenance programme of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, which ensures logistical provision for the infantry fighting vehicles bought by Lithuania, and the possibility to use collective IFV spare parts and central depots and repair capabilities.
The Lithuanian armed forces have been using two Boxer driver training vehicles without weaponry since 2017, and an initial in-service logistical support package includes spare parts, support and test equipment, technical and training documentation, and training equipment.
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