Leopard 2A7 (Press photo: KNDS)

The Germany army brigade of about 5,000 troops settling as a permanent force in Lithuania will be equipped with brand-new Leopard 2 battle tanks. Moreover, Rheinmetall is likely to soon start construction of its own ammunitions plant in the Baltic state. The latter will keep supply lines short, a necessity in case of conflict with e.g. Belarus or Russia.

According to a still confidential budget draft that leaked to international press agency Reuters this week, the Bundeswehr will place an order for 105 new Leopard 2A7 battle tanks with manufacturer KNDS. While funding is still not secured, the Defence Ministry in Berlin reportedly wants to boost the combat efficiency of its permanent brigade in Lithuania with those tanks. The remainder will be used for a 300-tank force in Germany itself. Exact numbers of what goes where has not been disclosed.

The 45th German Brigade Litauen is still in its build-up phase, after the first troops arrived this April. (Read the story “First permanent German military force abroad since WW2 arrived in Lithuania” at Nordicreporter.com) The unit will reach full operational capability by the end of 2027, the same year as the first brand new Leopard tanks are expected to be delivered.

German ammo plant in Lithuania

Meanwhile, German manufacturer Rheinmetall is planning to set up shop in the central Lithuanian village of Baisogala. The ammunition factory it wants to open here will not only keep supply lines to German and NATO forces short, the village’s location also puts the factory-to-be within air coverage of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing combat jets at Šiauliai Air Base, 35 kilometres (21 miles) away.

Lithuanian media report that the establishment of the ammo plant in the village of 2,000 souls causes some local debate. The municipality apparently hopes for prosperity, some villagers feel they will get the best military protection, while others express unhappiness with having to little say in the coming of the plant. | © 2024 Marcel Burger, nordicreporter.com. Press photo by KNDS