VILNIUS, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Lithuanian Army received on Tuesday the first two out of 88 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) the Boxer in what is the country's biggest military procurement in history.
The Boxer IFVs manufactured by German company ARTEC were handed to Lithuanian Army during a ceremony on Tuesday.
The IFVs handed to Lithuanian Army's Land Force are rebranded as Vilkas (The Wolf).
According to Lithuania's Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis, the delivery marks "an incredibly important day" for the Lithuanian defense system.
"It will help ensuring the security of Lithuania for several decades to come," Karoblis was quoted as saying in an announcement by the defense ministry.
The minister says the procurement of 88 IFVs is the country's "one of the most ambitious projects" to upgrade the country's Army.
"The Vilkas IFVs will not only transport soldiers quickly and safely but will also engage in a battle by neutralizing armored and unarmored targets effectively at the distance of up to 4 kilometers," said the Chief of Defense Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Zukas in the statement.
The contract to procure 88 IFVs signed in 2016 is worth 385.6 million euros and is the largest military purchase in the country's history.
According to the procurement agreement, the Lithuanian Army is to receive all IFVS by late 2021.
Lithuania, a small Baltic country with a population of around 3 million and NATO's Eastern-flank member country, has stepped up its defense capabilities in recent years, citing tensions in the Eastern Europe. Enditem