Lithuania and the U.S. government have finalized a $495 million deal for as many as eight M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, the Lithuanian government announced Friday.
The deal includes Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, which have a range of 300 kilometers, and other ammunition. A State Department notice last month said several dozen Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and variants of them, would be included.
The deal was finalized as Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas met with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other U.S. officials in Washington this week. According to a U.S. readout, Austin hailed Lithuania’s “robust defense spending” and investments in new capabilities like HIMARS.
Anušauskas told Defense News in an interview that the system will be a division-level asset for Lithuania, and that it was important that its Baltic neighbors Latvia, Estonia will also be buying them. Still, because the three countries and Poland will all have placed orders, it’s expected to stretch Lockheed Martin’s ability to build them.
“As far as I know, industry has doubled its pace in producing HIMARS and ammunition,” Anušauskas said. “But in terms of orders, we’re also looking at Poland also ordering them, so the waiting list is rather long.”
Anušauskas said deliveries would begin in 2024 and conclude in 2025 for Estonia, and begin in 2025 and conclude in 2026 for Lithuania. A U.S-Latvia deal for the systems is expected to be finalized next year.
Future talks between the U.S. and Lithuania will focus on HIMARS integration, to include personnel training and maintenance.
As part of U.S. plans to enhance the military presence in the Baltics, defense officials are “transitioning the episodic deployments of an armored battalion-sized element and field artillery battery to a persistent rotational presence,” the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius announced earlier this month.
Earlier this year, Lithuania decided to expand its military budget by $157 million, paving the way for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace M113 armored personnel carriers it sent to Ukraine.
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