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Lithuania buys German combat vehicles in major arms deal
by Staff Writers
Vilnius (AFP) Aug 22, 2016

Saab to provide New Zealand army with training simulators
Wellington, New Zealand (UPI) Aug 22, 2016 - Saab has received the first order under a five-year deal to provide the New Zealand army with the Tactical Engagement Simulation System, the company announced Monday.

"This initial order will provide the army with a proven, off-the-shelf and technically advanced training system," Saab said in a statement.

The laser-based system draws on more than 35 years of tactical engagement simulation design, delivery and support expertise.

Saab has delivered such systems to the U.S., British, Canadian, Australian and NATO forces.

The system has been developed and regularly modernized using the experience of more than 20 customer nations.

New Zealand will lead the region in the employment of advanced laser-based tactical engagement systems to support training, Saab said.

The system offers a wide range of realistic training scenarios that will enhance the army's ability to conduct and analyze the outcomes of force-on-force exercises.

Lithuania on Monday signed a deal for German-made armoured vehicles intended to boost its defence capabilities, as it seeks to allay concerns of a military resurgence of Russia on its doorstep.

In its biggest-ever arms purchase, the Baltic NATO member will buy 88 Boxer armoured fighting vehicles for 386 million euros ($435 million).

Produced by the German-Dutch ARTEC consortium, the vehicles are fitted with Israeli-made turrets.

"It's a long-term investment into national defence and also a signal that Lithuania takes its security and investing in it seriously," Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said after inking the deal.

The first vehicles are expected to arrive in Lithuania in 2017 and the rest by 2021.

The largest of the three Baltic states that broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991, Lithuania has increased its defence budget by about a third each year since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

Next year, the nation of three million has earmarked 725 million euros for defence, or 1.79 percent of economic output.

Alarmed by the Russian annexation of Crimea and a series of war drills staged near its borders, it also reintroduced limited conscription last year.

Despite the efforts, Lithuania largely depends on its NATO partners to guarantee its security.

Germany agreed to lead a multinational battalion in Lithuania last month when NATO approved a troop boost in the Baltic states and Poland to reassure allies once ruled from Moscow.

The Kremlin denies any territorial ambitions and insists that NATO is trying to encircle Russia.

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Previous Report
Lithuania receives surplus vehicles from the Netherlands
Vilnius, Lithuania (UPI) Aug 18, 2016
Lithuania is touting its bilateral military partnership with the Netherland, which has resulted in the procurement of surplus military vehicles. Over the past six months, Lithuania has received about 200 combat and medium-lift Mercedes-Benz GD vehicles, trucks and other military vehicles from the Netherlands to supplement and update the Baltic country's military fleet. The vehicl ... read more

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