Earlier this July the Ministry of National Defence and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) signed a contract on infrastructure development projects of the Lithuanian Armed Forces which will significantly improve training conditions in Lithuania for both, Lithuanian and allied troops, when implemented.
13 projects are planned to be completed in the Lithuanian Armed Forces by 2021 according to the new Capability Package of the NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP): 12 of them are planned for Gen Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė, and 1 – for the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Šiauliai.
O the basis of the contract, the total worth of the infrastructure development is planned to be roughly EUR 47 million. Roughly EUR 23 million of that will be allotted from the NSIP via the NSPA which will be responsible for the implementation of the projects and contract management.
“The scope of national and international exercises held in Lithuania has grown so much that the present training areas have become too small for comprehensive hosting and training of our and allied troops, while the latest military conflicts and experience from multinational deployments determine the need to enhance the training base for soldiers.
“Moreover, we are equipping the Lithuanian Armed Forces with new weaponry and we seek that they master the full potential of the capabilities they did not have before, i.e., use the weaponry within maximum safety distances. With all that in mind the Ministry of National Defence is focussing heavily on development and improvement of military infrastructure,” Vice Minister of National Defence Giedrimas Jeglinskas says.
Once the currently intended infrastructure development is completed, Gen Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area will be the only one Lithuania capable of accommodating a military unit of p to a brigade size – several thousand of military personnel and hundreds of military equipment. Units of the said size training in the military training area would also receive full logistical support.
“One of the key needs of the Land Force was to have a training area suitable for tactical training of brigade military units. Land force unit training will be taken to a new qualitative and quantitative level once the development project is completed, and the Griffin Brigade, the Iron Wolf Brigade and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Group integrated into it will have more space for exercising the potential of their equipment and weaponry,” acting Land Force Commander Col Tomas Masaitis provided his evaluation of the development.
The development of Gen Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area and infrastructure is a continuing project launched in 2014. It is financed from the Lithuanian MoD budget, US European Reassurance Initiative, and the NATO Security Investment Programme.
Lithuania has been taking part in the NSIP since joining NATO in 2004, in the period from 2004 to 2017 roughly 30 NSIP projects were implemented the total sum of investment (including Lithuania’s part) being over EUR 53 million.
Major directions of NSIP project development in Lithuania are infrastructure development for the NATO Air Policing Mission, Host Nation Support, and military training areas, a part of the funds are also allotted for the infrastructure of the NATO Force Integration Unit.
The NATO Security Investment Programme provides funding for the projects answering to the Alliance’s security needs. The main attention is focussed on the needs related to crisis management: communications, command and control, mobility, combat training and infrastructure development, logistics, etc.