The first two upgraded PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) heavy self-propelled artillery systems bought from the German Armed Forces were delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion, on Dec. 14.
“A modern military conflict, as we can see from the military actions in Ukraine and other hotspots, efficient artillery is one of the most important pillars of defence, which is also of deterrence. These fully upgraded, armoured, heavy tracked self-propelled howitzers will doubtlessly enhance defensive capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces – they are still the highest standard in indirect artillery to date,” Vice Minister of National Defence Giedrimas Jeglinskas says.
The howitzers delivered to the Artillery Battalion have been bought from the German Federal Armed Forces on the basis of the contract signed in September 2015. In total, 18 upgraded howitzers of combat setup will be delivered to Lithuania as agreed by the contract.
“This is the best Christmas present the Artillery Battalion could get. Such gifts will increase the Battalion personnel’s motivation to seek the status of the biggest firepower status in the Lithuanian Armed Forces even more, of course, the gifts have arrived along with new responsibility. Troops have to reach set goals, demonstrate excellent results, and take care of the new equipment,” Commander of the General R.Giedraitis Artillery Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Marijus Jonelis said. The commander took part in person to welcome the new equipment into the Battalion.
According to Lt Col M. Jonelis, the PzH 2000 heavy self-propelled artillery systems have all howitzer control battlefield control, and fire control software upgraded.
Lithuanian soldiers will soon begin combat training suing the new howitzers, first shots are planned to be fired within several months, during Exercise Fire thunder in spring of 2019.
The new equipment will increase the effective fire range of the Gen R.Giedratis Battalion based in Rukla. Before the current procurement, the most powerful equipment the Battalion is armed with was the 105 mm howitzers with effective fire range of roughly 11 kilometres. The new equipment has increased the Battalion’s effective fire range to 40 kilometres.
Representatives of Germany have already carried out training of Lithuania’s future military maintenance personnel and operators, howitzer crews and planning officers, of the equipment. Lithuanians have taken part in different courses, meetings with German experts, and learned from their experience during the events both in Lithuania and Bundeswehr’s Artillery School. After the training in Germany Lithuanian soldiers will share the knowledge with other colleagues who will work with the howitzers back home.
All the remaining upgraded howitzers are planned to be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by the end of 2019.