Lithuanian soldiers operate during a multinational exercise for Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian troops near Vilnius. Events in Ukraine have prompted Lithuania to procure three radars for its border with Belarus. (Petras Malukas / Agence France-Presse)
WARSAW — The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense is planning to deploy three new radars to Lithuania’s border with Belarus to bolster the military’s air surveillance capacity. The equipment will replace the Lithuanian Army’s P-18 and P-37 radars, which are Russian-built, the ministry said in a statement.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said the procurement is related to the mounting regional tensions over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
“The changing security situation imposes [the need to adapt] new solutions. We shouldn’t only rely on the support of our allies, but also take greater responsibility for our own safety,” Olekas said.
The acquisitions are estimated to be worth about 200 million litas (US $81 million). Under the plan, the project will be completed by 2019.
The Lithuanian ministry has been planning to acquire two long-range radars and recently decided to expand the purchase to three. The third radar will be located in Ignalina, in the country’s eastern part.
A consensus on the necessity to increase Lithuania’s defense spending is growing among all major Lithuanian political parties, according to the defense minister. ■