The Lithuanian Armed Forces received the first two of 16 155 mm self-propelled Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 howitzers it acquired from the German Armed Forces, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence said Friday.
Lithuania first signed a contract for the German howitzers in September 2015 with additional units acquired for training and spare parts. The initial two units were brought to the General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion, Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf in Rukla, Lithuania.
Lithuania also acquired 26 M577 V2 armored command vehicles and 6 BPZ2 recovery tanks, totaling 53 pieces of materiel. Remaining contracted equipment is set to arrive in Lithuania by 2019.
Lithuanian soldiers are expected to soon begin training with the howitzers with first shots expected to be fired within several months at the Flaming Thunder NATO military exercise.
The PzH 2000 howitzers will be based out of the General Romualdas Giedraitis Artillery Battalion of the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf. The battalion currently operates 105mm howitzers with an effective range of 6.8 miles while the newer PzH 2000 units will have a range up to nearly 25 miles.
German representatives have also completed training Lithuanians who will be responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the new equipment, as well as crews serving the artillery system and personnel planning operations. After training in Germany, Lithuanian troops will transfer their knowledge of the PzH 2000 to other Lithuanian colleagues, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense added.