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Lithuania Receives Additional Javelin Missiles From United States.

On May 14, 2024, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced the acquisition of additional Javelin anti-tank missile systems from the United States, valued at approximately $16.6 million.
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The FGM-148 Javelin is an anti-tank missile designed in the United States. (Picture source: Lithuanian MoD)

The Javelin system, known for its "fire-and-forget" capability, allows operators to neutralize enemy armored vehicles with precision, significantly enhancing the operational efficiency of the Lithuanian armed forces. The newly acquired batch includes both missiles and Command Launch Units (CLU), which are essential for deploying the system in the field.

Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas previously emphasized the strategic importance of this acquisition, stating that the Javelin systems make a substantial contribution to Lithuania's long-term military capabilities. This delivery is considered a crucial element of Lithuania's overall defense strategy, particularly in light of current security dynamics.

This acquisition is part of a series of similar purchases over recent years. In previous contracts, Lithuania has invested millions to expand its inventory of Javelins. The United States has been a key ally in these efforts, providing not only equipment but also financial support to strengthen Lithuania's defensive capabilities.

The FGM-148 Javelin is an anti-tank missile designed to be used by one or two people. This system has been in service since 1996 and has been deployed in various conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the Syrian civil war, the second Libyan civil war, and the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Initially designed by Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta, the Javelin is now produced by Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin. Since its inception in June 1989, it has been in continuous production, with over 45,000 missiles and 12,000 Command Launch Units (CLU) ordered.

The Javelin stands out for its "fire-and-forget" capability, thanks to its infrared guidance system, which allows operators to move quickly after firing. The missile is contained in a launch tube and is ready to use, with a total weight of 22.3 kg. The detachable CLU weighs 6.4 kg, and the missile itself in its launch tube weighs 15.9 kg.

The Javelin has an effective range of up to 2,500 meters with the original CLU, and up to 4,000 meters with the lightweight CLU. When launched from a vehicle, its range can reach 4,750 meters. The targeting system combines classic optics and thermal imaging.

The Javelin's ammunition is a tandem HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead, designed to penetrate rolled homogeneous armor (RHA) thicker than 760 mm. The explosive charge weighs 8.4 kg and is triggered by a contact fuse. The missile can attack targets either in top-attack mode with a flight ceiling of 150 meters or in direct-attack mode with a ceiling of 60 meters.

Lithuanians increasingly fear an escalation of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. While a few Javelins may seem insignificant, the system has proven its utility, making this a smart purchase by the Lithuanian government.

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