Lithuania has signed a contract with the US to procure a total of eight high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) for the country’s armed forces.

It was announced by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MND).

The deal was signed between Lithuanian defence minister Arvydas Anušauskas and the US defence secretary Lloyd J Austin III during a meeting on 15 December

Estimated at $495m, the contract involves delivery of eight long-range artillery rocket systems along with various live and blank ammunition.

It includes guided missile pods of different types and combat features, such as the MGM-140/-164/-168 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), with nearly 300km of effective range.

Furthermore, the deal covers associated personnel training support, system maintenance equipment, system integration support as well as other services.

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The new HIMARS will also be connected with the Nato’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence System.

Anušauskas said: “Now our talks with the US proceed to address HIMARS integration – personnel training, maintenance. It is particularly important that the HIMARS is procured by all the Baltic states.

“We have been, and we will be actively collaborating with Latvia and Estonia in developing this capability and enhancing security of the whole region. 

“The first HIMARS deliveries are scheduled to take place in 2025.”

Following the new deal, the US Government will now place an order with the chosen contractor, Lockheed Martin, to deliver HIMARS to the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The latest announcement comes a few days after the US confirmed to deploy additional troops in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to strengthen collective defence posture in the Nato’s eastern flank.

Anušauskas added: “The US military presence in Lithuania and the other Baltic states remains one of the key deterrents against Russia. I welcome the US decision to maintain a continuous and persistent US force presence in Lithuania.

“On our behalf, we continue investing and improving the infrastructure necessary for the arrival and presence of the deploying US forces and we are prepared to ensure the conditions necessary for maintaining their readiness.”