Lithuania expects to conclude its deal with Artec over acquiring infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) Boxer in July, the country's army chief Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas said. Before that, the army needs to finish talks with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) which will negotiate the deal with Artec on Lithuania's behalf.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Žukas told news agency ELTA that representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Armed Forces are still in talks with OCCAR over the delegation of powers. Afterwards, OCCAR will negotiate with Artec, the manufacturer of Boxer IFVs.

"I think it will take some time, perhaps two or three months," the chief of defence told ELTA.

"So far everything is proceeding smoothly. We expected it to go somewhat faster, but there is some hold-up over procedures from their (OCCAR) side. This is not a delay related to either side, just certain procedures have to be completed and time is needed for that," said Žukas.

The chief of defence added that details of the purchase and delivery dates will be known once OCCAR begins negotiations with Artec.

In mid-December 2015, the State Defence Council, headed by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, approved the proposal to purchase 88 Boxer IFVs with 30mm automatic cannon and anti-tank rockets Spike. It is estimated that the purchase will cost Lithuania nearly €400 million. Lithuania expects to receive first IFVs in 2017, while the entire delivery should be completed by 2019.

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