The Lithuanian authorities has chosen Germany’s Leopard 2 over the US-made Abrams
Lithuania’s authorities has opted in opposition to the US-made M1 Abrams for a significant buy of battle tanks, as a substitute selecting Germany’s Leopard 2 as a part of a army buildup in response to safety issues triggered by the Russia-Ukraine battle.
Lithuanian Protection Minister Arvydas Anusauskas confirmed the choice in a Fb submit, saying the nation’s Protection Assets Council had chosen the Leopard 2 on Monday after bearing in mind a “detailed market evaluation and army evaluation.” Key analysis standards included value, upkeep prices, operational atmosphere, mobility, security, adaptability, firepower and interoperability, he mentioned.
Different contenders included the M1 Abrams and South Korea’s Black Panther tank. Anusauskas goals to signal a letter of intent with the German Protection Ministry for the deliberate tank buy.
Vilnius reportedly intends to purchase as many as 54 Leopard 2s to bolster its floor forces with a brand new tank battalion that will be a part of a division-sized unit. The brand new unit would even have infantry preventing autos, amongst different weaponry.
Anusauskas has confronted criticism this week from Lithuanian lawmakers for publicizing the tank choice, doubtlessly undermining the federal government’s bargaining energy in contract negotiations with Germany. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda chided the protection minister whereas talking to reporters throughout his go to to a army building venture on Wednesday.
“We agreed within the State Protection Council that issues which are of restricted use ought to be of restricted use and shouldn’t be shared on Fb proper after the assembly,” Nauseda mentioned. “I perceive that it could appear to some to be an important a part of the job to share the freshest info on Fb, but it surely actually shouldn’t be the first operate of a minister or some other public official — particularly because you at all times have to consider the secondary penalties of creating such info public.”
It’s not clear how rapidly the brand new tanks could possibly be delivered to Lithuania, given the struggles of NATO members to shore up their arsenals after offering large army assist to Ukraine. The Czech Republic, for instance, is shopping for Leopard 2 tanks after donating its Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Ukraine final yr. In Could, Germany ordered 18 Leopard 2s from protection contractor Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to interchange tanks despatched to Kiev. As a part of the deal, Berlin additionally secured choices for as much as 105 extra tanks.
Ukrainian forces have misplaced dozens of their Western-supplied armored autos throughout a foundering counteroffensive that started in early June. Not less than 15 German-made Leopards have been knocked out by Moscow’s forces in a single day, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned final week.