Lithuania – among the states with the smallest defence budget in the NATO family

Defense Professional News
February 2, 2008

Financing for the national defence was cut down for the first time in the decade. This year Ministry of National Defence will receive a sum of money smaller by 168.7m Litas than it was planned, and smaller by 114.7m Litas than assignations made in 2008. Defence budget will make 1163m Litas, or 1.01% of GDP.

“We are among the countries allocating the smallest percentage of GDP for national defence in the NATO family,” Minister of National Defence Rasa Jukneviciene said. “Limitations placed on defence funding prevent national armed forces from advancing and developing contemporary military capabilities able to ensure our security and fulfilling commitments to the allies.”

Defence expenditure of NATO countries amount to around 2 percent of NGP. Lithuania has never managed to reach such standard of financing but the absolute level of defence budget was growing due to the growth of GDP.

Long-term procurement projects will be continued

“National defence is based on long-term planning therefore we have to go on with the already launched procurement projects. In order to proportion our needs and capacity we will diminish spending on personnel and projects not directly linked to defence. The financing available withhold us from starting processes of new procurements for development of the Armed Forces. Our main objective is to ”survive” the 2009 maintaining the existing capabilities,” said Minister R.Jukneviciene.

Due to financial shortages smaller allocations will be made in 2009 for investment projects and less purchasing in armament and military equipment (light arms, equipment for observation and distance measurement) is planned; the drafted plans will be rescheduled. In comparison to 2008, this year MoND has cut down assignations for contracting (projects of armaments and military equipment purchasing and investment) by 25.1m Litas, or 8.6%.

Spending cut for projects not directly linked to defence

As a consequence of diminished defence budget MoND cuts assignations for spending in 2009 if compared to 2008 by 89.6m Litas: assignations for personnel supplies were cut by 6%, assignations for maintenance spending were cut by 16.7%.

Diminished maintenance spending comprises spending for communications cut down by 7.5% and transportation – cut down by 20.8%. Assignations for procurement of other facilities are cut by half; that includes assignations for representative goods cut by 50% in comparison to 2008, spending on apprenticeships cut by 24.8%, spending of facilities maintenance cut by 68.8%, spending for subscription of publications cut by 60%, and financing for other items of spending cut by around 8.9%.

Spending for public relations and projects of non-governmental organisations related to raising civilian and patriotic awareness will be cut by 1m Litas.

The biggest curtailment for 2009 was made in infrastructure investment by 14m Litas, or 33%. Procurement projects not directly linked to enhancement of defence capabilities were abandoned: MoND will not buy as much administrative transport, inventory and organisational equipment as it was planned.

In 2007 Lithuania was number 22 in the list of 26 NATO members with its 1.18% of GDP allocations for defence (despite Iceland that does not have a national armed force of its own). In the same year defence spending of Lithuania’s neighbour Latvia amounted to 1.61% of GDP, and to 1.62% of GDP – of Estonia. Percentage of GDP Lithuania allocated for defence was gradually diminishing since 2005. In 2005 Lithuania budgeted 1.23% of GDP for defence, and in 2006 and 2007 the number was 1.18% ending up with 1.12% in 2007.

The main long-term development project of the National Defence System will be continued into 2009

Long-range radars

Among the most extensive projects continued in 2009 is the project of enhancing Lithuanian Airspace Surveillance System that was launched in 2007. The project covers plans of purchasing two long-range radars before 2015 to replace outdated Soviet-made radiolocation equipment, and creating national airspace network integrated into NATO’s air defence system.

Tactical airlift crafts

Full redeem of the contract with “Alenia Aeronautica” regarding procurement of three tactical airlift aircrafts C-27J “Spartan” signed by Lithuanian Armed Forces and Italian enterprise “Alenia Aeronautica” in 2006. By contracting “Alenia Aeronautica” committed to deliver to Lithuania three tactical airlift aircrafts C-27J “Spartan”, spare parts, logistic equipment, and to prepare pilots and maintenance personnel. Lithuania has already received two “Spartans” and arrival of the third is planned before the end of 2009.

Mine clearance and patrol boats

MoND defence will continue the programme of mine clearance and patrol boat procurement under the development of the National Defence System programme issued by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania in 2006. In April 2007 Lithuania made an agreement with Denmark on purchasing three multipurpose “Standart Flex 300” type boats and naval cannons. The first boat subject to the agreement was sent to the Lithuanian Naval Force in May 2007, the second piered in Klaipeda in January 2008, and the third is planned to reach Lithuania by 2010.

According to the agreement made by the Ministry of National Defence of Lithuania and Defence Ministry of the UK in 2008, Lithuania will buy two HUNT class boats from the Royal Naval Force before 2011 together with services of vessel renovation. The new procurement will replace currently employed “Lindau” class boats of mine clearance.

Patrol and mine clearance boats will help Lithuania ensure host country’s support to the allies in case of crisis as well as fulfil other tasks of national defence: to ensure control and defence of Lithuanian territorial sea area and exclusive economic zone, to secure sovereignty of the Republic of Lithuania, and to conduct search and rescue tasks at sea.

The new mine hunters and mine clearers will be assigned to SNMCMG to take part in mine clearance operations in composition of the group with other allies on a rotational basis. As a NATO member Lithuania participates in the process of NATO capability planning specialising with other Baltic States in the sector of mine countermeasures – i.e. develops capabilities for NATO mine countermeasures force.

Multipurpose vehicles and riffle’s equipment

In 2009 MoND plans to complete projects of PLS multipurpose armoured trucks procurement and updating riffle’s equipment (buying automatic riffles and pistols).