Lithuania selects German GTK Boxer AFV
The Lithuanian State Defence Council (Valstybes Gynimo Taryba) approved the Ministry of National Defence to enter negotiations with the German wheeled armoured vehicles manufacturer ARTEC GmbH for the purchase of 88 GTK Boxer 8x8 modular armoured fighting vehicles (AFV). Earlier in the year the Ministry of National Defence recommended GTK Boxer as the preferred vehicle to meet the Baltic NATO nation’s land force requirements.
The Lithuanian decision was based on safety, power, cost, and delivery time. The service’s existing armoured vehicles mainly include M113A1G and M1064A4 tracked vehicles, M1114 4x4 vehicles, and SISU ETP 8x8 logistics protected trucks.
The GTK Boxer was selected over the General Dynamics Land Systems M1126 Stryker and General Dynamics European Land Systems- Mowag Piranha 5 designs. However, other 8x8 vehicles including Patria Land System’s AMV, Nexter’s VBCI 2, the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Pars, Otokar’s Otomotiv ve Savunma Sanayi Arma and Iveco Defence’s SUPERAV were also proposed to Lithuania.
The expected acquisition to ARTEC GmbH, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles Nederland will be set up through the Organisation Conjointe de Coopêration en matiére d’ARmement (OCCAR), an international organisation for the management of collaborative defence equipment programmes.
OCCAR is currently responsible for a programme to deliver 272 GTK Boxer vehicles to the German Army (Deutsches Heer) comprising 125 personnel carriers, 65 command post vehicles, 72 ambulances and 10 driver training vehicles. On 18 December, ARTEC GmbH announced a €476 million ($520 million) order by the country’s procurement arm Bundesamt fýr Ausrýstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr Support (BAAINBw) via the OCCAR for an additional 131 troop transport vehicles to be delivered between 2017 and 2020. The OCCAR organisation also oversee on behalf of Dutch procurement agency Defensie Materieel Organisatie (DMO) the delivery process of 200 vehicles to the Royal Netherlands Army comprising 60 command post vehicles, 52 ambulances, 27 cargo vehicles, 53 engineer vehicles and 8 driver training vehicles.
Lithuania is reportedly looking to equip the future fleet with UT-30 Mk1 or Mk2 remote-controlled weapon station of Elbit Systems Land and C4I – Tadiran. It includes Orbital ATK Mk 44 Bushmaster 30mm automatic cannon, FN Herstal MAG58 7.62mm machine gun, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike LR long range anti-tank missile.
The first vehicles are expected to be received in 2017, with delivery expected to complete by 2019.
The vehicle was developed according a 1999 contract worth €180 million ($197 million), with a series contract worth €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) awarded in 2006.
Due to its modular design, GTK Boxer can be quickly adapted to a wide variety of missions. It can be equipped with remote weapon stations armed with armaments up to 40 mm.
Lithuania is also set to receive 21 KMW/Rheinmetall Defence PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled artillery systems between 2016 and 2019 acquired from German Army surplus for €58 million ($63 million). In addition to the howitzers purchased on 29 September 2015, Lithuania also purchased 26 BAE Systems M577A2 tracked command post vehicles, and six Rheinmetall Defence Bergepanzer 2 armoured recovery vehicles, based on the Leopard 1 main battle tank chassis.
Elbit Systems Land and C4I completed the upgrade of M1064A3 120mm tracked armoured mortar carriers of Mechanized Infantry Brigade "Iron Wolf" with new barrel and digital automated fire control system. A new Mechanized Infantry Brigade was created with its headquarters to be implemented in Klaipeda in 2016.