Slovenia is interested in Lithuania’s Vilkas project as its Government eyes buying the same type of Boxer platforms. As the composition of the Government has reshuffled following the elections, the contract is revised with the final decision set to be taken in September.
A Slovenian delegation visited Lithuania back in December and after a thorough analysis of the equipment here in Pabradė took the decision to acquire Boxers with integrated turrets, a modification of the basic model that Lithuania has too.
“Our Wolves are a completely new and unique defence system and other NATO militaries are interested in its development as well. It is a crucial project in the course of modernisation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, and the Allies who can see the mobility and all combat features necessary that the ‘Wolves’ have view Boxers as a future platform. We have come to Slovenia to listen and consult,” said Deputy Minister Semeška.
The Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicles are manufactured by Germany’s ARTEC. The modification Lithuania is buying has Israeli-made turrets and it is armed with 30 mm chain guns MK-44S made by the US and Spike LR anti-tank missiles made by Israel. It also has other specialised equipment, electronic systems. Implementation of the contract is carried out and supervised by Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).
AS different systems were integrated together in the manufacturing process for the Lithuanian-selected model, certain challenges emerged. To date, Lithuania already has 43 of the ordered vehicles, while the new batch runs late because of identified deficiencies it takes time to remove. The process has been affected by the global pandemic and resulting supply chain disruptions too.
“As Vilkas is a completely new defence system, a set of intense tests is run and improvements applied in close collaboration with manufacturers to make sure it functions ideally. We are demanding, working and we are getting the progress. The manufacturers strive to implement the project as smoothly as possible and to deliver to Lithuania the combat equipment that meets top quality standards,” says Semeška.
The Vilkas IFVs are planned to be assigned to two units of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf: the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalions. According to the deputy minister, not only Lithuania and Slovenia appreciate the potential of the Boxer, so does Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom that now doubles the number of the vehicles it acquires.