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Lithuanian Armed Forces training areas expanded to provide fitting training conditions for Lithuanian and allied soldiers


1,500-meter machine-gun firing range with maintenance buildings at Gaižiūnai Training Area, munitions storage grounds and access roads, aircraft target area, multifunctional firing range at General S.Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė; all of the mentioned examples are just a part of expansion and upgrade ongoing in the Lithuanian Armed Forces infrastructure and training areas.


“Increasing manpower, procurement of weaponry and equipment adding capability we never had before, intensified allied presence require us to make sure conditions for training of both our and our allies’ troops are appropriate, the increasing storage and Host Nation Support needs are met,” Vice Minister of National Defence Giedrimas Jeglinskas says.


Development of military training areas began in 2014 on account of the training and exercise needs of Lithuanian and allied forces. Aside of major Lithuanian training areas at Gaižiūnai and Pabradė, , infrastructure development plans are drafted for General Kazys Veverskis (Kazlų Rūda), Rokai (Kaunas), Kairiai (Klaipėda), Pagudonė (Telšiai district.) training areas.


Currently, the main focus is on the development of General S.Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė and Gaižiūnai Training Area near Rukla, both officially identified to be critical state objects. The work in both locations is planned to be completed by 2022.


Area of the largest training site of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, General S.Žukauskas Training Area, will be doubled to reach 176 km2 as compare to the current 85 km2. At the moment new tactical fields for practicing tank and IFV fire as well as firing ranges and positions are set up. The main field has already been rearranged and expanded, numerous firing positions and a target strip have been added.


When the project in the training area is completed, soldiers will be able to train manoeuvres of a battalion-sized battle group and live fire with infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, air support tasks, artillery units, and practise other tasks that were previously inhibited by training area size and shortage of infrastructure. “Beyond doubt, all of that will provide better training conditions in the training site for both, the NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group with support units and other allied forces deployed to Lithuania,” Vice Minister said.


“Currently, a multifunctional firing range with maintenance buildings is already finished at General S.Žukauskas Training Area and will soon be transferred - documentation is being processed and is expected to be submitted in the second quarter of the year. Aircraft firing range, heavy weaponry firing range, equipment depot including maintenance facility, parking lot, gas supply, car wash are also planned to be completed this year as well as watchtowers and a storage facility,” training area development officer of the MoD Logistics Department Captain Tomas Jurgulis told about the main work getting done at Pabradė Training Area. According to the officer, those were accompanied by parallel design work, e.g., of three barrack buildings to house 1,200 soldiers. The barracks are planned to be fully built by the end of 2019. Also, design for a planned refurbishment of the canteen, equipment lots, utilities networks and structures, etc., are already underway.


EUR 63.4 million has been allotted to the development of General S.Žukauskas Training Area.


Area of Gaižiūnai Training Ara in Jonava district will become bigger than twice the initial size, from 52 km2 to 125 km2. Roughly EUR 18 million is allotted for the purpose. When the work is completed, the site will be suitable for training a company-sized unit with support elements, or artillery units, for conducting individual training or host nation support for allied forces, soldiers will be able to practise basic level live firing with infantry fighting vehicles.


“The 1,500 m machine-gun firing range with maintenance facilities has already been completed at Gaižiūnai Training Ara and will soon be transferred to the use of Lithuanian and allied soldiers. Troops will be able to train firing medium and large calibre machine-guns mounted on vehicles in stationary positions,” the training area development project officer says.


According to the officer, the work at Gaižiūnai Training area is getting done without time-outs. “Constructions of 300-meter, 1,000-meter, qualification handgun firing ranges, range maintenance facilities, tactical vehicle maintenance facilities, storage buildings are already underway and are planned to be completed by the end of 2018,” Captain T. Jurgulis says.


Investment into the Lithuanian training area development comes in almost equal parts from the national budget (EUR 24 million), U.S. European Reassurance Initiative (EUR 25 million) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (EUR 32 million), with the total sum of roughly EUR 81 million.



MoD photos:


1. Pabradė, munitions storage lot. Completed object and used by the Lithuanian Armed Forces and NATO allies’ troops.

2. Pabradė, multifunctional firing range control tower. (credit G. Maksimovicz)

4. Pabradė, munitions storage lot, security personnel shelter.

5. Pabradė, gun calibration position. Will be in use in the second quarter of 2018 when the multifunctional firing range is completed.

8. Pabradė, storage building and a drive, future equipment planned to be completed until the end of the third quarter of 2018.

9. Rukla, gun loading and unloading facility by the 1,500-meter firing range. To be completed in the second quarter of 2018. ( credit: I. Budzeikaitė)

10. Rukla, 1,500-meter firing range control tower. To be completed in the second quarter of 2018. ( credit: I. Budzeikaitė)

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