Lithuania has begun its cooperation with Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (French: Organisation conjointe de coopération en matière d’armement; OCCAR), within the scope of Vilnius’s own programme, related to acquisition of the Boxer wheeled armoured personnel carrier. Lithuanian Ministry of Defence has just received information, related to the fact that the government obtained an approval of five member states of the OCCAR body, namely: Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The organization itself, along with its expertise and support within the scope of analytical processes, is going to support the planned implementation of the Boxer wheeled APCs in the Lithuanian Army. It shall be noted that, ultimately, at least two battalions of the Lithuanian land forces are expected to be operating the Boxer platform (this translates into 88 vehicles in total).
Close collaboration with OCCAR is to play a key role within the area of further negotiations pertaining the details of the prospective contract, on the basis of which procurement of the vehicles for the Lithuanian Army would be carried out. The cooperation will also cover the further supervision of implementation process, regarding the vehicles that are being used by the Army. Close collaboration with other European partners, within the framework of the whole Boxer programme, will also facilitate technology transfer in the future, meaning that joint actions will be easier to be taken by the participants of the Boxer project.
Obviously, thanks to their involvement in the Boxer programme and, above all, thanks to the related collaboration with OCCAR, the Lithuanians are willing to significantly reduce the Boxer procurement, maintenance and development costs. Up until now, the available information suggested that selection of the Boxer vehicle, in case of Lithuania, was motivated financially. The decision regarding the acceptance of the Artec offer, selected among 12 submitted proposals, was taken on 11th December last year. The initial vehicles are expected to be delivered to Lithuania at the beginning of 2017. The platform acquired by the Vilnius authorities is going to be armed with unmanned turret fitted with a 30 mm cannon coupled with a Spike ATGM launcher.
OCCAR is an organization which has been established back in 1996, on the basis of a memorandum signed by and between France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The purpose of that organ is to provide best management of the joint defence initiatives. At the moment, besides the Boxer programme, OCCAR also deals with the following projects: A-400M, COBRA, ESSOR, FREMM, FSAF-PAAMS, LSS, MMCM, MUSIS, PPA and TIGER.
Currently, the organization is making efforts towards including other initiatives in its support activities, i.e. European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System), along with the MMF Programme (Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft Fleet). OCCAR, in total, deals with 13 defence programmes of high strategic importance, the operational budget of which, only throughout the year 2016, is close to EUR 3.1 billion.