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The Netherlands is reinforcing the hard core of the NATO Battlegroup in Lithuania deployed under the Enhanced Forward Presence mission by deploying LEOPARD 2 A6 MBTs. These will soon be complemented by:

  • CV90 IFVs
  • BOXER wheeled protected transport vehicles
  • FENNEK reconnaissance vehicles
  • BÜFFEL armoured recovery vehicles

For this, the tenth rotation, the Dutch are deploying a total of 250 soldiers to Lithuania.

This is the first deployment of LEOPARD-type MBTs by the Dutch Army after 20 years. In the early 1980s, the Netherlands procured 445 MBTs which were sold to NATO countries by 2011 due to the changed security situation. A small number of which were converted into KODIAK armoured engineer vehicles. Four years later, 18 MBTs were given to the Dutch to equip a tank company. This company was incorporated into the German-Dutch Tank Battalion 414, with four German and one Dutch company, in 2017. After certification at the German Army Combat Training Centre (GÜZ), the transfer to Lithuania was initiated.

The 10th rotation is currently taking over the tasks of the battlegroup with the transfer of command planned for 10 August 2021. Tank Battalion 414 is the focal point of the multinational contingent.

In addition to Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway and the Czech Republic are currently participating in the expanded NATO presence in Lithuania.

Gerhard Heiming