Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence (MoND) has placed another order for the RBS 70 NG mobile short-range air defence system (MSHORAD) on 8 July 2024.

The RBS-70 is used by the Lithuanian Air Defence Battalion. It was selected for the task on the basis of uncomplicated maintenance, mobility and resilience to electromagnetic jamming. 

In total, the cost of the order comes to Skr1.3bn ($123m). Moreover, it comes under a unique agreement with the original equipment manufacturer Saab and Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).

Fundamentally, it is a joint purchase with the FMV that enables Lithuania to use the FMV’s framework with Saab for RBS 70 NG procurement. This provides both countries with better prices and efficient acquisition of the systems. The deal was originally signed in December 2023.

The MoND expects delivery of the systems to arrive between 2025 and 2027.

Worth €147m ($159m) per unit, the MSHORAD comprises mobile command and control communication platforms, Giraffe 1X mobile radars and RBS70 NG remote weapon stations. The Lithuanian Armed Forces will received the MSHORAD mount the systems onto its Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs).

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According to GlobalData intelligence, the Lithuanian Army currently operates 235 JLTVs acquired from the US manufacturer, Oshkosh, between 2021 and 2024.

“The MSHORAD is designed for an efficient protection of certain types of objects, territories and critical infrastructure,” said the Minister of National Defence, Laurynas Kasčiūnas. “It offers the advantage of mobility which is highly necessary and will add significant efficiency to the Lithuanian Armed Forces capabilities. We are currently operating an older generation RBS70 and Bolide missiles.”

Although, at the end of May, the MoND received Bolide-type missiles for its RBS 70s to improve air defence efficiency. MSHORAD is used with the Bolide laser-guided missiles resistant to electromagnetic jamming.

Lithuania also uses the Mark II (Mk2) missile, a predecessor to Bolide missiles. These have an altitude and distance ranges of up to four and seven kilometres respectively, the missiles are used by a number of other Nato allies. Bolide missiles have an improved engine that adds speed and manoeuvre, and expands the altitude and distance parameters.