Handover of the first Vilkas Infantry Fighting Vehicle to the Lithuanian Armed Forces
The official handover of the first two BOXER (VILKAS) series vehicles to Lithuania took place on 9th July 2019 . These two Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) for the Lithuanian Army where presented to the audience with a ceremony in Rukla , home to the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, new owner of the vehicles. Two battalions of the Iron Wolf Brigade, the Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion, will become users of the IFV VILKAS.
First Vilkas IFV delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces ©Lithuanian MoD
The Minister of National Defence, the OCCAR Director and the Chief of Defence of Lithuania conducted the formal handover together with the members of the brigade. Media representatives from Lithuanian press where also present to report the event to the public.
“This is one of the most ambitious projects of upgrading the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the recent years, it will help ensuring the security of Lithuania for several decades to come” the Minister of National Defence, Raimundas Karoblis said.
OCCAR Director Arturo Alfonso Meiriño stated in his speech, “The delivery of the first two Lithuanian VILKAS Infantry Fighting Vehicles is an historical milestone for the Lithuanian Armed Forces, but it is also for OCCAR, as this demonstrates the level of support the organisation can give to its customers be it OCCAR Member States or OCCAR Programme Participating States...This programme will directly support the security and defence challenges of Lithuania and at the same time the ones of Europe and NATO.“
The Minister of National Defence of Lithuania is handed a symbolic key of the first Vilkas vehicles by the OCCAR Director. ©Lithuanian MoD
The VILKAS IFV is a unique version for the Lithuanian Army and is equipped with a RCWS (Remote Controlled Weapon Station) Samson MK II and a Spike LR Anti-tank missile station. The armament is completed with a 7.62mm machine gun and MK44S 30mm chain gun. In order to keep the link with the history of Lithuania and traditions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, it was agreed that the IFVs produced for Lithuania would be called “VILKAS” instead of “BOXER”.
From left to right: Lithuanian Chief of Defence, Lt Gen Jonas Vytautas Žukas ; OCCAR Director, Arturo Alfonso Meiriño; CEO ARTEC, Stefan Lischka; Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Raimundas KAROBLIS. ©Lithuanian MoD
OCCAR is tasked to procure 88 VILKAS IFV in 4 different versions for Lithuania that will be delivered until end of 2021.