WARSAW, Poland — The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence signed a €181 million (U.S. $213 million) deal Friday with its U.S. counterpart for four Lockheed Martin UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The deal marks the first acquisition of American helicopters in the Lithuanian military’s history.

The contract, which was signed during an official visit by Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis to Washington, D.C., also covers the procurement of additional equipment, spare parts, and a training, repair and logistical support package, the ministry said in a statement.

The new helos will enable Lithuania to replace its outdated Soviet-built Mil Mi-8T copters with Western-made copters as part of the country’s military modernization efforts.

“By dropping the last Soviet relic [aircraft] and progressing to a Western helicopter platform, we are beginning a completely new phase for the Lithuanian Air Force and moving in step with [the] U.S. and other most advanced NATO allies' militaries,” the minister said.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2024, and the agreement gives the country an option to buy a further two helicopters. As part of the deal, the U.S. government will support the acquisition project with an allocation of €25 million.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

More In Europe
Biden drops out of 2024 race
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised Biden for his "profound and personal commitment to the Department of Defense and the American military" on Sunday.