Lithuanian Minister of Defence announced the plan to spend more than 100 million dollars on implementation of the Norwegian-American NASAMS air defence system in the Lithuanian Army. It is seen, by the Lithuanians, as a system of medium range.
According to the release published by the BNS outlet on Sunday, 26th September, Juozas Olekas, Lithuanian Defence Minister, claims that two NASAMS batteries are expected to be introduced into the inventory of the Armed Forces of Lithuania, which would translate into formation of two, company-sized units.
According to Olekas, each of the batteries is going to utilize two launchers, own targeting radar and a fire control centre. The system is to provide the Lithuanians with a capability of destroying targets at distances of up to 40 kilometers, flying at altitudes of up to 14000 meters. Most probably, each of the batteries is going to be provided with an option of using effectors, the range of which is longer than the range of the numerous variants of the AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, utilized now as a standard weapon within the NASAMS architecture. According to the previously published claims, procurement of the NASAMS system had been planned in stages, with second-hand elements being considered, which could possibly have been provided by Norway.
The Lithuanians are determined to create a multi-layered air defence system, obviously, tailored to their needs. Moreover, Lithuania had also acquired the Polish VSHORAD Grom MANPADS. Now, Vilnius is trying to create the higher layer of the system, formed by the NASAMS solution. It is one of numerous military procurement programmes pursued by the Lithuanian government, following the acquisition of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, German Boxer APCs, or Javelin ATGMs. The government has significantly increased defence spending, up from less than GDP 1% in 2013, through more than GDP 1.45% in 2016, aiming to reach the NATO treshold of GDP 2% in 2018 at the latest. Also, the number of active servicemen has been increased, and conscription was reintroduced.