ua en ru

Lithuanian army to conduct first-ever HIMARS missile launches to deter Russia

Lithuanian army to conduct first-ever HIMARS missile launches to deter Russia Archival photo: Lithuanian army launches missiles from HIMARS for the first time (Getty Images)
Author: Daryna Vialko

Lithuania will conduct exercises and launch missiles from HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems for the first time. This should deter Russia from its aggression, according to the Lithuanian Defense Minister Laurynas Kasčiūnas.

"I think this is a factor that also demonstrates some positive shifts in understanding that inaction is not de-escalation. On the contrary, the East may perceive it as an opportunity to act," he said.

It is noted that several HIMARS missiles will be launched from the Kairiai training site 10 kilometers into the sea.

The minister added that this is an important deterrent that shows the combat capability of Lithuania and NATO. It will be the first instance of Lithuania conducting missile launches into the Baltic Sea from this multiple rocket launcher system.

"The decision to use HIMARS systems, I would say, was made relatively recently. It can be seen as an additional factor to the previously planned exercise scenario. This is an innovation that sends a clear signal," Kasčiūnas said.

HIMARS in Lithuania

LRT news agency indicates that Lithuania has signed an agreement with the United States to purchase eight HIMARS systems worth $495 million at the end of 2021.

According to the Ministry of Defense, this purchase also includes ammunition, consisting of sets of guided missiles of various types and combat characteristics, including ATACMS systems.

The army plans to integrate the HIMARS systems in coordination with allies, especially with neighboring countries such as Estonia, Latvia, and Poland. The first deliveries of these systems are scheduled for 2025.