WARSAW, Poland — The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence has confirmed plans to acquire the Network Centric Air Defence System (NASAMS) from Norway's Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace with the aim to boost the country's air defense capabilities.

"Yes, we can confirm that Lithuania plans to assign some €100 million to acquire the NASAMS," Laimonas Brazaitis, a spokesperson for the ministry, told Defense News. "This is all the information we can provide at the moment since the negotiation process of the procurement is underway."

The latest development follows an earlier statement by the country's Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, who told local news agency BNS that his ministry planned to purchase the NASAMS for two Lithuanian military units.

The planned procurement, worth an estimated US $112.5 million, could allow the Lithuanian Armed Forces to become the system’s fifth operator in Europe. The NASAMS "is in operational use in Norway, Spain, USA, the Netherlands, Finland, one undisclosed customer, and in production for Oman," according to Kongsberg.

Kongsberg teamed up with Raytheon in the United States to develop the NASAMS. The air defense system is capable of targeting aircraft, UAVs and cruise missiles, and it can handle up to 72 simultaneous multiple engagements, according to data from its manufacturer.

Since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been mulling to establish a joint medium-range air defense system to protect their skies.

In 2016, Lithuania’s military expenditure is to total €575.2 million (US $646.7 million), up 35.3 percent from a year earlier.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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