Latvia's, Estonia's choice has no impact on Lithuania's decision on NASAMS – Lithuanian defense minister

  • 2023-09-18
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Latvia's and Estonia's choice to purchase German-made medium-range air defense systems has no impact on Lithuania's decision on Norwegian-made NASAMS, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas has said.  

"We offered (to jointly buy NASAMS), as did our partners," Anusauskas told BNS last week. 

"They chose the Germans. But this does not affect our choice, because we have an operational NASAMS system in place, and it is well mastered," he said. 

The Defense Ministry has told BNS that Lithuania has initiated the second phase of procuring a medium-range air defense system and is planning to buy NASAMS additionally.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces have been using this military equipment since late 2020.

"The existing NASAMS system is already integrated and operated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces, so the additional acquisition of NASAMS system would not pose integration problems," the ministry said. 

"Moreover, there is already experience working with this system, and the personnel is trained and prepared to operate it," it said. 

The Defense Ministry expects to sign a contract with Norway's Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace by the end of this year.  

The latest third-generation air defense systems procured from Norway are designed for the destruction of various types of aircraft, cruise missiles and remotely piloted aircraft.

According to Anusauskas, Latvia and Estonia opted not to join Lithuania not only this time, but also during the first purchase of NASAMS.

"We offered, they initially agreed, and then said there was no money," the minister said,

Estonia and Latvia last week signed a joint deal, worth around 1 billion euros, to purchase an Iris-T SLM medium-range air defense system from the German manufacturer Diehl.