Add Lithuania to the List of Eager HIMARS Buyers

The effective use of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) by Ukraine against invading Russian forces continues to generate interest – and budding orders – for Lockheed Martin.

The latest country to get clearance from Washington for a prospective buy of the sought-after system is Lithuania, which seeks to acquire eight M142 HIMARS launchers via the government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) channel. The proposed $495 million sale was green-lighted by the State Department with notification from the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) issued to Congress on November 9, 2022.

Orders of the shoot-and-scoot-capable system have already come in from NATO members Poland and Estonia. In fact, demand from Poland proved so intense that in order to supplement its requirement for 500 HIMARs that cannot be filled in the near-term, Warsaw opted to turn to South Korea to meet its immediate needs via an order for 300 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) from Hanwha.

The U.S. Army, meanwhile, is seeking to backfill its own inventory and pressuring Lockheed Martin to ramp up production.

For its part, the Baltic nation of Lithuania – perched between Russia’s ally Belarus and its external oblast, Kaliningrad – opted to accelerate its own planned acquisition of a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) in light of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Originally, the target date for this procurement was set for 2028 under the National Defense Development Plan, but it was instead brought up two years to 2026 by the State Defense Council (consisting of the president, prime minister, defense minister, parliament speaker, and the chief of defense).

The aim is for a contract signing to be completed as soon as possible in order to ensure delivery by no later than 2027. Additional funding provided in the run-up to Russia launching its invasion and shortly after has helped Lithuania move towards its force modernization goals and rapidly grow its defense budget up to its targeted level of 2.5 percent of GDP. That topline benchmark is expected to be reached be sustained through at least 2025, resulting in a figure of around $2 billion.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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