On October 5 the main IFV service facility Vilkas was officially opened at Rukla with Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas , Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Logistic Support Command Col A. Dzidzevičius, and other representatnives of the Government, MoD and the Armed Forces in attendance.
The maintenance facility we are opening today is a vital element of supply for the military. Our effort to strengthen the Armed Forces on our own behalf, acquisitions of new weaponry and equipment, building confidence with our partners who have sights of expanding and enhancing their involvement here, and Rukla as a critical and universally known spot on our defence map, it all is not the only thing that matters. What is also important is that there would be clockwork-like reliability of all things that ensure our Armed Forces work like a clock, everything that makes sure all our acquired and possessed equipment functions properly or would when needed,” Prime Minister underscored the importance and welcomed the finished project.
Largest (~4.5 thousand m2) of the kind across the Baltic states, the new facility opens new potential of military equipment maintenance and repair with its 22 repair bays, 8 for wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicles Vilkas, 6 for trucks, 4 for tracked equipment and 4 for all-terrain vehicles. The main service facility is ready to maintain and fix all types of military equipment operated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
“As we accelerate new equipment procurement, we need to take care to have a modern maintenance and repair system for it. This facility is a great example of integrated approach to equipment maintenance and repair. Availability of maintenance for all Lithuanian Armed Forces equipment in one stop is as valuable a contribution to the strength of the Lithuanian Armed Forces as acquisitions of IFVs or other defensive military equipment additions. Our aim is to ensure the Lithuanian Armed Forces has several such facilities,” said Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas at the opening event.
Modern systems the facility is equipped with ensure a swift and quality oil and technical fluid: the direct injection from and pumping out to steel pipes is done in a unique system with containers set up in the warehouse which makes the process more efficient. The technique not only saves time but also ensures proper accounting.
The new “one stop” facility incorporates all maintenance systems in one network to ensure appropriate use of all vehicles thus delivering on an integrated approach to military equipment maintenance requirements. It has carwash, examinations, painting, most complex metal cutting and bending, etc., capacity.
The facility has been built as part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the technical capacity of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. A goal has been set forth to have more than one such facility.
“Delivery of the purchased weaponry and equipment has been accelerated as a result of the changed security situation in the region. However, not only powerful combat vehicles are needed to respond to potential threats with speed and punch but also timely repair services, likewise, not only cutting-edge weaponry is required but also ammunition, planned out ammunition storage, and not only training areas but also proper roads for military equipment to move by. Therefore, military infrastructure development is one of the keystone components in our defence architecture,” underscored A. Anušauskas at the opening ceremony.
With the appropriations added under the Law on Temporary Bank Solidarity Contribution, the Lithuanian Defence Budget reaches EUR 2 billion, or 2.76 percent of GDP, this year. Defence financing has doubled over three years accelerating Lithuanian armed forces modernization, capability enhancement, infrastructure development. Approx. 10 percent of defence budget is spent on Lithuanian Armed Forces infrastructure development, though the proportion has been significantly increasing in the recent years.
The growing defence spending is good for the national economy: over a half of it, i.e., more than 60% of the Defence Budget, remains in Lithuania. It is especially true in the area of infrastructure development, such as building barracks and depots, roads in military training areas and units, as the work is done by Lithuania contractors.
The maintenance facility project finished in July earlier this year was completed by a Lithuanian company Jungtiniai Projektai UAB, the construction work is worth of EUR 12 million.
Photo credit: MoD / Sgt 1st Class A. Čemerka