On June 25, Lithuania received its first two of eighty-eight Boxer “Vilkas” infantry fighting vehicles, according to an official announcement from the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence.
The Vilkas IFV Boxer (Image source: Lithuanian MoD)
The first IFVs will initially be delivered to Grand Duke Algirdas of Lithuania’s Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Rukla to complete acceptance procedures and then officially delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces for operational use.
The official introduction and transfer of the first mass-produced PFDs is scheduled to take place on July 9. Series production of the vehicles began after a year of intensive testing in training areas and test centers in Germany and the Netherlands.
The Vilkas IFV is a variant of the Boxer armored fighting vehicle developed by the German manufacturer ARTEC according to the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The vehicles are equipped with Israeli-made turrets, 30mm MK-44S guns and Spike LR anti-tank missiles, other specialized equipment and electronic systems.
ARTEC GmbH is a consortium formed by German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) and Dutch Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland BV. Overall, Rheinmetall holds a 64% interest in the joint venture. The Boxer program is managed by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), a European intergovernmental organization.
In 2016, Lithuania signed a €385.6 million contract with ARTEC and OCCAR for 88 IFV Vilkas. All 88 IFVs are expected to be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by the end of 2021, of which 15 IFVs will be delivered this year.
The IFVs will be used by units of the “Iron Wolf” mechanized infantry brigade – the mechanized infantry battalion of Grand Duke Algirdas of Lithuania and the battalion of Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan.
Lithuania, along with the Netherlands and Germany, is part of the NATO Support and Supply Agency (NSPA) Boxer IFV Supply and Maintenance Program. It provides the ability to use collective IFV spare parts and central depots and repair capabilities for major IFV systems, receive technical and engineering support, etc., when IFVs are operated by armed forces Lithuanian.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces has also been using two Boxer Driver Training Vehicles (DTV) without the weapon systems since 2017, specifically for military driver training. The initial in-service logistics support package includes spare parts, support and test equipment, technical and training documentation, and training materials are also received.
The combination of firepower, maneuverability and crew protection of the IFV Vilkas best meets the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in terms of national defense and international deployments, according to a statement from the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense. National Defence.