Lithuanian Minister of Defence, Juozas Olekas, informed that Vilnius received a “positive answer” regarding the procurement of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, that come from the military surplus of the Bundeswehr.
During her visit to Lithuania, Minister Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the fact that Germany can transfer 12 self-propelled Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers, according to the request made by the Lithuanian authorities. As the Delfi outlet informs, the first deliveries are expected to happen next year.
Currently Lithuania has no similar armament at its disposal. The only self-propelled artillery units include 120 mm mortars, placed on an M113 armoured carrier platform. Introduction of the PzH 2000 howitzers into use is an element of capabilities enhancement and technical modernization of the Lithuanian Army, undertaken in the light of the Ukrainian crisis.
The Lithuanians have decided to reintroduce compulsory military service and increase the defence spending up to the level of 2% of the GDP – this is to happen not later than in 2020, next year, according to the information provided by Oleksas, Vilnius is to allocate 1.46% of GDP for the defence purposes. Back in 2013 the Lithuanian defence spending was shaped at the level of only 0.8% of GDP.
Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers have been introduced into service in the Bundeswehr, back in the 1990’s. In total, the German Armed Forces received 185 such artillery systems. According to the available information, currently no more than 89 PzH 2000 howitzers are being utilized by the German Army, however, we cannot say that this number will not be increased, especially in the light of the Ukrainian crisis. Similar action was taken regarding the Leopard 2 tanks. 12 Pzh 2000 Howitzers, coming from the German military surplus, have been sold to Croatia, and back in 2013 24 examples were ordered by Qatar.
PzH 2000 system has a 52-caliber barrel-length and is capable of striking targets at the distance of up to 40 km with the use of rocket-propelled ammunition. These howitzers are also being utilized by the Netherlands, the Italians and the Greeks, and were used in combat, during the war in Afghanistan.