Lithuania Set to Open Talks with Norway on Medium-Range Aircraft Defense System
(Source: Baltic Times; published May 28, 2016)
VILNIUS --- Lithuania's Defense Ministry on Friday decided to open talks with the Norwegian government on acquisition of medium-range missile defense systems NASAMS.

"We have decided to open negotiations with the Norwegian government on possible purchase of the NASAMS systems," Lithuania's Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told BNS after a meeting of the Defense Resource Council on Friday.

In his words, the price of the systems remains unclear.

Lithuania's Armed Forces currently have short-range aircraft defense systems only.

"This could simply defend our airspace in the medium range. We had short-rage aircraft defense systems that can reach three to five kilometres, and this will be the medium range where missiles fly dozens of kilometres and can take down targets at an altitude of 15 kilometres," Olekas said.

According to earlier reports, the medium-range aircraft defense project may be developed jointly by the three Baltic States.

Lithuania had long lagged behind its NATO allies in terms of military expenditure, but it has started boosting defense funding in recent years in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine and its military activity in the Baltic Sea region.

This year's budget stipulates 575 million euros for defense, which makes up 1.48 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), with plans to raise defense spending by 150 million euros next year.

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