The Lithuanian Army will start reception by the end of 2017 of 88 Boxer vehicles in four specifically developed Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) versions which will be known as “Vilkas” (which means ‘wolf’). The €390M contract for the 8×8 wheeled Boxers was signed in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 22 August by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence with the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) which has, in turn, contracted ARTEC GmbH, to supply the vehicles, the last of which will be delivered by 2021.
Munich-based ARTEC is a joint venture founded in 1999 and held 36% by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and 64% by Rheinmetall MAM Military Vehicles and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles Nederland.
These vehicles, equipped with a remote-controlled turret bearing a 30mm automatic cannon and an anti-tank missile, are the first Infantry Fighting Vehicle variants of the Boxer family. They were first unveiled to the public at the Eurosatory 2014 exhibition in Paris. Production will be carried out by ARTEC’s parent companies with 53 vehicles manufactured by KMW and 35 by Rheinmetall.
Lithuania has thus become the third nation to buy the 36.5 tonne battle-proven Boxer after Germany, whose army has 405 Boxer vehicles in different variants in use or in the procurement process, and the Netherlands, whose army has 200 in its inventory.
The Boxer vehicle comprises a modular design with a common drive module and exchangeable mission- and nation-specific mission modules. It can be optionally equipped with different protection kits, a laser warning system, an IFF (identification friend or foe) system, an ATGM (anti-tank guided missile system) and SAS (close in reconnaissance system). The IFV variant, 7.93m long and 2.99m wide, has a crew of up to nine: the driver, six dismounts and two in the turret. Powered by a 530 kW (720 HP) turbo-charged diesel engine, the vehicle has a top speed of 103 kph and a range of 1,050 km. It can handle a straight gradient of 60% and a slop gradient of 30%. It has a ground clearance of 0.50m.
The first Boxer entered into service in 2009; the Lithuanian order increases the total number of vehicles to be produced to 693.