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06:10 AM, June 26, 2016
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Pzh2000 Howitzers arrived to Lithuania on Thursday (Image: Lithuanian MoD)

The first two of the 155 mm self-propelled PzH2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) howitzers the Lithuanian Armed Forces have acquired from the Bundeswehr were brought to Lithuania Thursday.

Under a contract signed last September the Lithuanian Armed Forces bought from the German Armed Forces 16 155mm self-propelled howitzers for combat purposes, and 5 for training and spare parts.

By the same contract the Lithuanian Armed Forces also acquired 26 M577 V2 armoured command vehicles and 6 BPZ2 recovery tanks -- 53 pieces of materiel in total. The contract also s includes training for the Lithuanian soldiers and support for technical maintenance arrangements, Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Thursday.

The rest of the equipment is planned to arrive in Lithuania by 2019.

Lithuanian soldiers will soon start training to master the newly received advanced and particularly capable equipment and the first shots are expected to be fired within several months at Exercise Flaming Thunder.

Efficient fire support is one of the key priorities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, and it is exactly what the procurement of one of the world’s most advanced artillery equipment for maneuver units enables. Acquisition of self-propelled howitzers is a quality leap in fire support in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The equipment will give a substantial boost to the capability of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and open up new opportunities of operational planning and execution.

The new purchase of the Lithuanian Armed Forces will be used by General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf based in Rukla.

The Battalion currently operates 105mm howitzers with effective range of 11 kilometres, while the new PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers will enable it to destroy targets at the range of 40 km.

German representatives have already finished training Lithuanians who will responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the equipment, as well as crews serving the artillery system and the personnel planning operations. After the training in Germany, the Lithuanian troops will transfer the experience of employing the PzH2000 to Lithuanian colleagues.

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