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VILNIUS – Lithuanian and American troops as well as soldiers from the Lithuania-based international NATO battalion on Thursday tested the new firing range in Pabrade, the Ministry of National Defense said.
A heavy weaponry firing range suitable also for tanks to fire inert ammunition was set up here at the end of summer.
"The implementation of infrastructure development projects in Lithuanian military training areas takes us to a qualitatively and quantitatively new training level for Lithuanian troops alongside our allies," Minister of National Defense Raimundas Karoblis was quoted as saying in a statement.
In his words, providing such training conditions supports presence of strategic ally, U.S. forces and thus improves deterrence and collective defense capabilities.
US Ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall said the United States' participation in the training event "demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our Lithuanian Allies and the NATO Alliance".
The live fire exercise at the new firing range involved M1 Abrams main battle tanks and Bradley armored personnel carriers of the U.S. Army.
The infrastructure development project at the General Silvestras Zukauskas Training Area was launched in 2014. Apart from the heavy weaponry training range it also has infrastructure for light infantry arms firing, combat vehicle, artillery and aircraft target areas. Infrastructure for equipment, gear and ammunition storage is being set up too. Infrastructure for combat vehicles and maintenance is expected to be finished by the end of the as well.
Once the projects are completed, the General Silvestras Zukauskas Training Area will be the only military site in Lithuania suitable for hosting up to brigade-sized military units of several thousands of soldiers.