Purchased for arming the Lithuanian Armed Forces and enhancing defence of its subdivisions and objects against air attacks, the first portion of man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) GROM is due to arrive in Lithuania by the end of this year. Four Lithuanian soldiers are currently deployed in Poland for learning to operate the system, the Ministry of National Defence said.
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

The Lithuanian representatives are learning the skills necessary for employing the GROM system from their Polish colleagues at the Polish Air Force training facilities in Koszalin. The over a week-long operator's course will familiarise them with the MANPADS GROM and help develop skills necessary for operating the GROM in a battle. When back in Lithuania, they will transfer their new knowledge to other troops who will be actually in charge of operating the GROM systems.

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence contracted on buying the GROM short-range MANPADS for the Lithuanian Armed Forces with MESKO S.A., a Polish company, in September earlier this year. According to the procurement agreement, the Lithuanian Armed Forces will buy GROM launchers, missiles, maintenance equipment, field trainers, and simulators, with a view of also acquiring a logistical package, for the total of EUR 34.041 million.

The procurement will be delivered to Lithuania in several portions. The first shipment including missiles and launchers is expected to arrive in Lithuania in early December.

The GROM MANPADS is bought from the earlier programmed LTL 130 million (EUR 37.6 million) that has been committed additionally for national defence this year. The first instalment this year will amount to EUR 4.8 million. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

Procurement of the short-range MANPADS is one of the top priorities in equipping the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The mobility and combat capacity of the GROM will reinforce the defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces subdivisions and objects from air attacks. The GROM may be operated by small-sized tactical units deployed at a distance or separately from larger units; the procured GROM MANPADS will be used for equipping units of the Lithuanian Land Force that carry out that function.

The GROM is the third kind of missile air defence system in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. It will complement the Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS launchers and 21 Saab RBS 70.The capacity of the new equipment will enhance defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces' units against air attacks and reconnaissance missions from low-altitude flying aircraft and UAVs.

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