On February 24 military equipment of the mechanised infantry battalion of the Bundeswehr will be brought to Lithuania from Grafenwöhr (Germany) by railway. Roughly 60 items, including Leopard tanks, Marder IFVs, Dachs engineer tanks, and other vehicles, will equip one of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) maneuver companies.
Germany will form the core and serve as its framework nation of the NATO eFP battalion deployed in Rukla Garrison of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The majority of German soldiers are deployed from the 122th Mechanised Infantry Battalion, 12th Mechanised Infantry Brigade of the German Armed Forces. To date, the main part of German soldiers, all Belgians, and a part of Dutch military personnel are already in Lithuania. The main Dutch contingent will be deployed in March, and Norwegian – in May.
This year the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion will be manned by Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, next year – by Croatia, and France, in total, roughly 1,200 soldiers.
At peacetime, the NATO battalion will train together with Lithuanian forces in Lithuanian Armed Forces training areas, or it will defend Lithuania alongside national forces and additionally deployed reinforcement in case of a crisis or conflict.
The NATO battalion in Lithuania will be comprised on a headquarters and a headquarters company, logistic support company, and three-to-four combat companies, and different combat support units. Reinforcement to the NATO forward presence battalion will be deployed when necessary, i.e. when exercises are held or in case of threat. Such a deployment is already planned for the summer when an intense cycle of exercises will run: artillery, air defence, engineer, and other units, are planned to be sent in.
Lithuania will provide full host nation support to the battalion – living conditions, meals, other logistical support.
The NATO enhanced Forward Presence battalion battle group is deployed in Lithuania as agreed by the Heads of State and Governments at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016 in the context of the changed geopolitical situation and active Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Such battle groups are also deployed to enhance allied presence in the eastern flank of the Alliance in Estonia, Latvia and Poland as of 2017.
-- Feb. 24, 2017: Added tweet by Lithuanian MoD at 17:00 GMT