In a move responding to persisting security challenges, Lithuania’s State Defence Council has granted approval for establishing a new Infantry Division and acquiring the German Leopard 2 tank platform. 

This decision, shaped by assessments considering political, economic, and military aspects, aims to enhance the combat capabilities and manoeuvre defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Additionally, after consideration, the council greenlit an increase in mandatory military service conscripts, signalling a step toward a universal conscription model.

This strategic move comes as a response to the persistent security threat posed by Russia, necessitating a bolstering of Lithuania’s defence infrastructure.

The draft amendment to the law governing the principal structure of the Armed Forces outlines the establishment of the Infantry Division, which will be formed by either creating new units or reinforcing existing ones within the Lithuanian Armed Forces. 

As part of this restructuring, plans include the establishment of a new Artillery Regiment and the reorganization of existing units such as the Col Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion and the Air Force Air Defence Battalion into the Col Juozas Vitkus Engineer Regiment and the Air Force Air Defence Regiment. The King Mindaugas Hussar Battalion is also slated for transformation into the King Mindaugas Tank Battalion.

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By GlobalData

In addition to these changes, the draft amendment proposes the creation of a Harbor and Littoral Defence Service of the Navy and a Cyber Defence Command, integrating the Lithuanian Great Hetman Kristupas Radvila Perkūnas Communications and Information Systems Battalion with the IT Service.

The acquisition of the Leopard 2 tank platform was determined as the most efficient choice following a thorough assessment by the Ministry of National Defence and relevant institutions. This decision aligns with a prior military assessment highlighting the German Leopard 2 platform as optimal for enhancing combat power and manoeuvre defence capabilities.

Several European nations actively support Ukraine by donating Leopard 2 main battle tanks. In its 14th defence material package to Ukraine, Finland contributed three mine-clearing Leopard 2 MBTs, and the Netherlands and Denmark plan to gift 14 Leopard 2 A4 tanks to Ukraine after refurbishment. 

Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, represented by Rheinmetall, signed an agreement to deliver 14 Leopard 2A4 MBTs to Ukraine. Canada confirmed the donation of four Leopard 2 tanks, while Norway pledged to contribute tanks.

Notably, the State Defence Council has given the green light to increase the maximum number of mandatory military service conscripts, bringing Lithuania closer to adopting a universal conscription model. The draft amendment outlines an increase in the overall personnel limit from 20,840 to 29,380 and a rise in the number of Initial Mandatory Military Service conscripts from 4,240 to 7,040.

While these changes to the structure of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and military service modifications will necessitate additional appropriations for national defence, they are deemed imperative in the face of the persistent Russian threat. The nation remains committed to addressing the evolving security landscape with proactive measures to ensure the safety and resilience of its defence forces.