Lithuania concluded its acceptance of the Vilkas variant of the Boxer armoured fighting vehicle, making Lithuania the first country to operate a Boxer vehicle mounted with a 30mm gun, following a successful Live Fire Testing on 24 February, according to a release from the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).

Two battalions of the Iron Wolf Brigade of the Lithuanian Armed Forces have been equipped with the new platform, as part of an OCCAR Boxer programme that has so far delivered four different variants of the Boxer vehicle, providing a total of 91 units to Lithuania.

The delivery follows a significant collaborative effort from Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK, one that overcame considerable supply chain challenges during the last 24 months. ARTEC was first awarded a contract by OCCAR to deliver 88 Boxer vehicles to the Lithuanian Army in August 2016 for €385.6m ($417.5m) and delivered the first units of the order in December 2017, and the first Vilkas variant Boxers in July 2019. 

“Today the combat capability of the brigade Iron Wolf reinforced with vehicles Boxers meets the highest NATO standards and is of great significance for Lithuania’s security,” said Arvydas Anušauskas, Lithuanian Minister of National Defence.

The Boxer is an 8×8 multirole armoured vehicle with modular armour that includes top-attack protection, with the potential for future generations of armour to be fitted through simple slab replacement.

A double-lived hull of high-hardness steel is intended to soak up critical blast deformation, and the design of the full shapes-away the blast of mine attacks. 

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After the UK and Germany signed the first Boxer contract in 1999 for an initial production of a next generation armoured utility vehicle, this collaboration then grew to include Netherlands in 2001. The UK subsequently left the programme in 2003 to pursue a new national programme for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), but rejoined the project in April 2018, ten months before the Boxer programme delivered its 500th vehicle in February 2003.