Last week, it was officially confirmed that Lithuania will buy Javelin mid-range anti-tank systems from the United States for €50 million. The T-72 tank, widely used by Russian army and also used in Ukraine, is like a tin can when faced with a Javelin. More about the Lithuanian military's new purchase was revealed on an LRT TV programme about military weapons.
The Russian T-72 tank
© Vida Press

The first time Lithuania acquired the Javelin medium-range anti-tank system was nearly fifteen years ago. On that occasion, Lithuania and the US agreed to a contract for 10 million USD in which Lithuania purchased 75 missiles and 18 launchers, as well as training devices, logistical support and training. Lithuania became the first European country to buy such sophisticated anti-tank systems from the US.

The second time Lithuania's Javelin stockpiles were supplemented was last year after the crisis in Ukraine, which was an attempt to revive a Lithuanian army that had nearly been strangled by funding shortages. An unnamed amount of launchers and missiles were purchased for nearly USD 20 million.

This weapon can destroy modern tanks with reactive armour from distance of 100 metres to three kilometres. The system works by the fire-and-forget principle: the soldier locks the target and fires, after which the missile controls itself. This provides greater security for the military because a team of soldiers can change their position while the rocket flies towards its target. One rocket costs USD 300,000.

With the newly purchased Javelins adding to the ones Lithuania already had, the military should have close to 120 launchers with about 300 missiles available. This means that, in case of a war, the Lithuanian army will be able to destroy some 300 enemy tanks only using Javelins. This amounts to 5-6 battalions, or at least one tank brigade.

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