17 August The first Lithuanian army armored combat support SUVs JLTV (JLTV) were delivered in Rukla. Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). Margiris Abukevičius, Deputy Minister of National Defence, said at the presentation ceremony of the new SUVs organised by the Mechanized Infantry Brigade “Iron Vilkas” that this acquisition is a particularly important step in the modernization of the Lithuanian Army.
“We are very happy to see armored SUVs in JLTV Lithuania today. This acquisition from the USA is one of the most important steps in the modernization of the Lithuanian Army. We are very happy that our military cooperation with the US is growing and that together we can contribute to the security of NATO’s eastern flank. We send a strong signal to our allies that Lithuania cares about and invests in both its own defence and that of the Alliance as a whole,” said Deputy Minister M. Abukevičius.
The SUV delivery ceremony in Rukla was also attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Robertas Gilchrist, Brigadier General Garrick Harmon, Commander of the U.S. Ground Forces Security Assistance Command, and representatives of the Lithuanian Army Command, who confirmed that the new JLTV SUVs will significantly strengthen the existing capabilities of the army.
The first batch of JLTV SUVs reaching Lithuania – 50 pieces. They were brought from the USA to Germany, and from there they trawled to Lithuania. The first armored SUVs were received by lithuanian army training units in Rukla and Kazlai Ore, where training of Lithuanian soldiers was started. Currently, several dozen SUV drivers, 15 mechanics have already been prepared.
JLTV is the world’s most modern tactical armored SUV with highly advanced characteristics. According to the 2019 A total of 200 such SUVs will be purchased for the Lithuanian Army under the agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence and the US Government. SUVs are manufactured by Oshkosh Defense, a company chosen by the US Government.
It is planned that JLTV SUVs will be allocated to the battalions of lithuanian army brigades “Iron Vilkas” and “Žemaitija”, giving priority to the national rapid reaction force.
“JLTV is a technically advanced SUV that provides a high level of crew protection. They will better protect our troops and ensure greater efficiency in reconnaissance, artillery and air support operations. SUVs were manufactured according to the needs of the Lithuanian Army in order to ensure the execution of both national defense and international mission tasks. JLTV will not only strengthen the capabilities of our military, but also improve the interaction between Lithuanian and US forces,” said M. Abukevičius.
“Today we mark the beginning of the transfer of armored SUVs to our strategic ally Lithuania. On behalf of the U.S. Government, I want to express my gratitude for lithuania’s choice of US armaments and equipment for its modernization,” U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania R. Gilchrist said at the JLTV SUV delivery ceremony.
“Lithuania remains committed to spending 2% of GDP on its defence, and the country’s commitment to defence modernisation strengthens collective security and benefits the NATO Alliance as a whole. The acquisition of armored SUVs confirms Lithuania’s determination to defend its territorial integrity against any threat,” the ambassador added.
The combat support armored SUVs JLTV purchased by the Lithuanian Army are part of the Lithuanian Army’s modernization program, which includes the purchase of infantry fighting machines “Vilkas” and self-propelled haubbics PZH 2000. They will complement and upgrade the Lithuanian Army’s SUV fleet – HMMWV (Hammer) SUVs are still used.
The SUVs being purchased will be equipped with turrets armed with 12.7mm machine guns M2 QCB. Currently, the delivered SUVs are still without turrets, they are received, and installation work will begin in the near future. Off-road equipment, armaments, personnel training, purchase and maintenance of spare parts, transportation, installation of equipment are part of the Lithuanian agreement with the USA. Purchased JLTV SUVs, equipment, weaponry, tools, spare parts will be handed over to the Lithuanian Army by 2024.