Lithuania upgrading RBS 70 MANPADS with night vision sights and improved missiles

The Lithuanian Ministry of National and the country's Armed Forces enhances the present air defence capabilities and functionality of the weaponry in their possession by procuring improved missiles and BORC night-capability sights on the basis of a contract signed with Swedish manufacturer Saab. The new procurement will upgrade the RBS 70 short-range air defence capability the Lithuanian Armed Forces currently has.

Lithuania upgrading RBS 70 MANPADS with night vision sights and improved missiles
A Saab RBS 70 VSHORAD system in service with Lithuanian Armed Forces
(Picture source: Ministry of Defense of Lithuania)

“Enhancement of air defences is one of the key priorities of our defence, therefore we are continuing upgrading our short-range air defence system: the RBS 70 will be improved with night-capability sights and new missiles will be acquired,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says.

Lithuania is buying from the Swedish manufacturer RBS 70s of a newer generation greater range, higher altitude coverage and an enhanced effect against armoured targets. With improved missiles the RBS 70 system will be even more effective and dangerous to hostile aircraft, and the advanced BORC night sights will allow soldiers to stay operational during the dark part of the day.

Approximate value of both contracts is EUR 9.7 million (without VAT), the procurement contracts were signed in July.

The improved missiles and night vision equipment will be delivered to the Lithuanian Air Forces starting with 2019.

The Swedish-manufactured RBS 70 missile system is a short-range air defence capability based on control beam, i.e. laser equipment guides the missile. The greatest advantage of RBS 70 is that there has not been electromagnetic equipment so far created in the world capable of producing jamming that could disrupt RBS 70. The RBS 70 in possession of the Air Defence Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces comprises RBS 70 missile systems with Giraffe Mk-IV surveillance radars.

Also, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence is strengthening Lithuania’s mid-range air defence capabilities: in October 2017 NASAMS mid-range air defence systems was bought for EUR 110 million from Norwegian enterprise Kongsberg and is expected to be delivered by 2021.

Airspace protection is one of the key guarantees the allies are able to enter the region if a necessity arises. Upgrading of the possessed air defence capabilities and procurement of new ones is Lithuania’s steps to at least partly fill one of the most important gaps in its defence - airspace protection.

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