Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Panzerhaubitze 2000 and other former-German equipment sold to Lithuania

The Lithuianian ministry of defence (MoD) announced on 28th of September 2015 that the army has purchased a total of 53 combat vehicles from Germany. The contract was signed one day later on the 29th of September.

The complete purchase includes:
  • 21 Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled guns 
  • 26 M577 V2 command post vehicles 
  • 6 BPz 2 armored recovery vehicles
The total costs of the deal was €58.3 million, which will be alocated until 2019. €16.2 million were paid for the 53 vehicles, while €42.1 million were paid for modernization, upgrading the new vehicles with communication and mangaement systems as used by the Lithuanian army, and for adjusting military infrastructure for the Panzerhaubitze 2000 as well for training personnel.

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) is a self-propelled howitzer equipped with a 155 mm L/52 rifled gun. The chassis is made of armor steel and provides a relatively high level of protection (supposedly equal to the Leopard 1 hull). Additional armor can be mounted on top of the Panzerhaubitze 2000 roof in order to provide adequate protection against counter-battery fire and bomblets. The useage of many Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 military off-the-shelf (MOTS) components reduces the unit price of a PzH 2000.
Compared to the previous 105 mm towed artillery used by the Lithuanian army, the PzH 2000 has more than three times the effective firing range - according to the MoD, the PzH 2000 can accurately engage targets up to 40 kilometers, while the 105 mm howitzers have a range of 11 kilometers.

The M577 V2 command post vehicle is originally an American vehicle based on the M113. The German army bought 220 M577A1 vehicles during the Cold War. The designation M577 V2 seems to be local or it might be a mistranslation of the German NDV2 upgrade, that was applied to several M113-based vehicles. The NDV includes a new and more powerful engine (providing 300 hp output, made by MTU) and a new transmission.

The Bergepanzer 2 (BPz 2) is an armored recovery vehicle based on the Leopard 1 chassis.

The delivery of the first vehicles is expected to begin in 2016, the last vehicles should be received as of 2019.

Meanwhile the decision for an 8x8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle has not been made yet by the Lithuanian armed forces. While - as previously reported - the army prefers the German Boxer, other parts of the Lithuanian military and/or government seem to dislike the high unit costs of a Boxer. The total costs supposedly are about €500 milions and the unit costs are supposedly 35% higher than some other alternatives investigated by the Lithuanian army according to an interview of the Lithuanian newspaper DELFI (use google translator).
On the other hand the Boxer with Puma turret (nicknamed PuBo by German officials) is probably the most capable vehicle offered to Lithuania.

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