Lithuania to Receive US Switchblade Combat Drones in 2024
The Lithuanian Armed Forces will receive American Switchblade 600 tactical barrage munitions next year. This was reported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence.
The ministry noted that last week, Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas visited the US Defence Industry Corporation's AeroVironment plant in California, where he inspected the equipment under development and discussed opportunities for further cooperation.
Lithuania signed a contract with the US government to purchase Switchblade 600 combat drones in 2022.
AeroVironment CEO Wahid Nawabi assured the Lithuanian minister that the drones would be delivered in 2024.
"This will be a major boost for our armed forces, allowing us to destroy enemy armoured vehicles at a distance of up to 40 kilometres. We can already see the effects of their use in Ukraine," Anušauskas said.
Along with these combat drones, Lithuania will receive equipment for launching and controlling drones, a training simulator and a maintenance package from the United States.
Lithuania currently has more than 60 procurement projects with the United States alone. By the end of this year, Lithuania and the United States will sign an agreement to purchase AMRAAM missiles. Earlier, the two countries agreed to purchase HIMARS artillery systems. In addition, Lithuania has been buying Javelin anti-tank missile systems and various communications equipment from the United States for many years.
Ukraine and Lithuania will cooperate in research and development of the defence industry, according to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. This issue was discussed on 29-30 November during the visit of Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister Yuriy Dzhyhyr to Lithuania.
"We appreciate and support Ukraine's efforts to implement defence reforms despite the war. Lithuania will share its knowledge with Ukraine on how to create and maintain a transparent procurement system. We will share our experience - where we started, what legal framework is needed, how to ensure transparency of procurement and prevent corruption," said Lithuanian Defence Minister Anušauskas.
In the summer, Lithuania approved a long-term plan for military assistance to Ukraine. The plan envisages the allocation of EUR 200 million for military equipment and weapons for Ukraine. The main areas of support will include the purchase of lethal and non-lethal weapons, military training and exercises, financial contributions to support funds, repair of military equipment in Lithuania, and personnel training.
As The Gaze has previously reported, Lithuania has to significantly strengthen its military alliance with Poland due to the escalating threat from the Russian Federation. Consideration of "worst-case scenarios" is considered necessary.