WARSAW, Poland — The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense has awarded a deal to acquire 88 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to the German-Dutch Artec consortium formed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles. The contract is worth 385.6 million euros (US $435.1 million), the ministry said in a statement.

 

"The IFVs will provide greater mobility, force protection and firepower for the battalions and the entire [Iron Wolf] Brigade," Lithuania's Chief of Defense Lt General Jonas Vytautas Zukas said at the official signing ceremony Aug. 22. "In operational terms, we will not only have the ability to take troops to the battlefield safely, but also to be effective on the battlefield as we destroy armored and unarmored targets at the distance of up to 4 km."

 

Under the plan, the first IFVs are to be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces in late 2017, and the contract will be completed by 2021, the statement said.

 

The vehicles are to be fitted with Israeli-made turrets, and armed with 30 mm cannons and Spike LR anti-tank missiles.

 

Iron Wolf is the largest unit of the Lithuanian land forces, and consists of six battalions deployed across the country.

 

With the latest contract, Lithuania is set to become the third European country to acquire the IFV for its land forces. According to the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, this will provide Vilnius with "smaller development and maintenance costs, sharing technologies, and better interoperability with other participants of the program".