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Lithuania to procure 35 UAVs to bolster intelligence capabilities

Lithuania is to procure 35 UAVs to bolster its intelligence capabilities. Pictured is Insitu (a Boeing subsidiary) ScanEagle UAV, which the Lithuanian Armed Forces operate. (Boeing)

The Defence Resource Agency, part of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD), has begun procedures for the acquisition of 35 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Announced by the Lithuanian MoD on 14 September, the Defence Resource Agency intends to purchase 26 ‘mini' UAVs and 9 ‘small' UAV platforms.

The acquisition of the platforms will significantly bolster the Lithuanian army's intelligence capabilities, especially considering the service does not operate these types of tactical-level UAVs, suited for intelligence-based operations, Minister of Defence Arvydas Anušauskas said.

A Lithuanian MoD spokesperson was unable to detail specifics regarding suppliers, although they noted that the country hopes to field the UAVs as soon as possible.

‘Mini' UAVs weigh up to 20 kg, have a maximum range of 25 km, and operate at an altitude of up to 1,000 m, the MoD said, while ‘Small' UAVs weigh more than 20 kg, have an operating radius of up to 50 km, and have a maximum altitude of 1,500 m. UAVs that perform reconnaissance tasks must at least be in Class I (weighing up to 150 kg) – both the ‘mini' and ‘small' UAVs fulfil this requirement, the MoD added.

It is anticipated that the procurement programme will total EUR36 million (USD35.9 million), based on market research, the announcement stated.

These types of UAVs are designed to detect, identify, and track targets, as well as assess the impact of particular actions and artillery fire, the MoD added.

The MoD also plans to acquire AeroVironment Switchblade loitering munitions.

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