Belgium Increases Military Aid to Ukraine with 300 Lynx Combat Vehicles & 3 Minehunter Ships

Brussels, Belgium, March 15, 2024 – The Belgian Council of Ministers declared on March 15, 2024, a substantial increase in its military support for Ukraine, with a new aid package totaling €412 million including 300 Lynx combat vehicles and three minehunter ships. This latest commitment is part of Belgium's ongoing efforts to assist Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression, bringing the total aid for 2024 to an impressive €575.7 million.
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Lynx LMV light Multirole Vehicle of the Belgian army. (Picture source Army Recognition Group)

Under the new military aid initiative, Belgium, in close collaboration with the Netherlands and as part of the BENELUX cooperation, will bolster Ukraine's military capabilities through various means. Key highlights include the transfer of three minehunter ships (MHC) to the Ukrainian Navy, with Belgium providing basic training and the Netherlands offering on-the-job training for the crews. The NARCIS ship will also undergo maintenance before being handed over to ensure it is fully operational for its new role.

The Narcis (M923) is a Tripartite-class minehunter of the Belgian Naval Component, launched in 1990, at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde and christened by Mrs. Lafosse-De Backer, the wife of the then Mayor of Mons, on 14 March 1991.

The Tripartite-class minehunter is a collaborative maritime defense project involving Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, designed to address the need for advanced naval capabilities in mine countermeasures. Developed during the late 20th century, these ships are specialized for detecting and neutralizing mines in maritime environments, thus ensuring safer sea lanes for military and civilian vessels. They incorporate sophisticated sonar systems for mine detection and use various methods, including remote-controlled devices, to neutralize threats. The Tripartite-class has been a vital asset in NATO and EU naval operations, demonstrating the benefits of international defense cooperation in enhancing maritime security and stability.

Additionally, the aid package includes the procurement and modernization of armored ambulance vehicles, the delivery of nearly 300 Lynx light multirole vehicles, and the joint purchase of reconnaissance drones, enhancing Ukraine's logistical and reconnaissance capabilities.

The Lynx vehicle, used by the Belgian army, refers to the Italian-made LMV Light Multirole Vehicle manufactured by IVECO which was designed to perform a wide range of military applications, including reconnaissance, command and control, and logistic support. Known for its versatility, mobility, and adaptability to various terrains, the Lynx is equipped to fulfill the demands of modern warfare where rapid deployment and operational flexibility are crucial. These vehicles often feature protection against small arms fire and shrapnel, making them suitable for use in hostile environments.

The most significant portion of the aid, amounting to €373.1 million, is allocated for additional artillery munitions, demonstrating Belgium's commitment to supporting Ukraine's defensive needs.

This unprecedented level of support from Belgium underscores the country's dedication to aiding Ukraine in its time of need and reflects a broader international effort to ensure Ukraine can defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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The Narcis is a Tripartite-class minehunter of the Belgian Naval Component. (Picture source)

Defense News March 2024