VILNIUS – Lithuania has signed a 495-million-US-dollar contract with the United States to purchase High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, the Defense Ministry said on Friday morning.
"We are now starting to talk about cooperation with the US on HIMARS integration – personnel training and maintenance," Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas, who met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Thursday, was quoted as saying in a press release.
The minister said that it is very important that HIMARS systems are being purchased by all three Baltic countries.
"We have been and will continue to cooperate actively with Estonia and Latvia in developing this capability and enhancing the security of the entire region. The first HIMARS deliveries are scheduled for 2025," he said.
The preliminary value of the contract is around 495 million US dollars. Lockheed Martin is the principal contractor.
The HIMARS is compatible with other technologies used by the Lithuanian Armed Forces, which will make it easier to integrate the system into existing defense plans and build up deterrence.
Under the contract, Lithuania is buying eight M142 HIMARS launchers with different types of missiles, including ATACMS, a long-range guided missile with a range of 300 kilometers.
The contract also covers training and system maintenance equipment, services for personnel training, system integration and connection with the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System.
At the Pentagon meeting, Austin reaffirmed the US commitment to a persistent rotational force presence in Lithuania and thanked Anusauskas for his country's support for US rotational troops based in the country, according to the press release.
The defense secretary also thanked Lithuania for its continued military support to Ukraine and for training Ukrainian troops, which makes an important contribution to Ukraine's self-defense.
He also praised Lithuania for its increasing defense spending and investment in new capabilities.
In Washington, DC, Anusauskas also met with Senator Roger Wicker, and is scheduled to meet with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald S. Moultrie, and US Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth on Friday.