Last updated: 30-Jan-2004 10:19 7 Invitees -Lithuania


Defence summary

The defence of Lithuania is based on the principle that the Lithuanian armed forces will deter and defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutional order of Lithuania in conjunction with the Allied Forces. In concert with NATO, Lithuania also contributes to global and regional stability through the promotion of good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation, active participation in peace support and crises response operations, a transparent defence policy as well as confidence and security building measures. In order to meet the new challenges to security of Lithuania and the Allied community and in line with the commitments made to the Alliance, Lithuania is carrying out an extensive restructuring and modernisation of its Armed Forces. The ultimate goal of Lithuanian defence reform is the creation of small, modern, well-equipped forces, which are mobile, deployable and sustainable, capable to participate in the full-spectrum of Alliance operations.


The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and chairs the State Defence Council, where the most significant issues of national defence are discussed and co-ordinated. The Parliament is responsible for the timely adoption of laws and other legal acts needed to implement national security objectives. Assignations for the development of the armed forces and major armament procurements are set by Parliament. Parliament also implements parliamentary control of the national defence system. The Government ensures the inviolability of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, guarantees security and public order, and directs the implementation of national security measures. The Ministry of National Defence (MoND) is responsible for the formulation and implementation of defence policy, consistent with the security objectives of the Republic of Lithuania, and the strategic management of defence resources.

The Minister of National Defence is responsible for development of defence policy, including the efficient use and control of resources. The Minister is supported by a Vice-Minister, a State Secretary and three MoND Undersecretaries.

The Defence Staff is subordinated to the Commander of the Armed Forces (CAF). CAF exercises command authority over the Armed Forces. He advises the President and Minister of National Defence on military matters and is responsible for drafting force planning requirements, including personnel strength levels, military structures, and equipment requirements.

The Armed Forces:

The Lithuanian Armed Forces consist of Land Forces, Air Forces and Naval Forces. The peacetime structure is reinforced, in wartime, by Border Guard and Special Police units of the Ministry of Interior.
Total personnel: 15 2041
Conscription: 12 months.
Defence expenditures: Total defence expenditures are 1.07 billion litas (about 309.9 mln euros), 2% of GDP. This total comes from the state budget (926 million) and the state property privatization fund (148 million). The MoND will receive 862.6 million litas (1.6% of GDP), with the remaining allocations going to the security agencies, border guard service, etc.2

Land forces:

Personnel: 7332
Structure: The reorganisation process of the Armed forces gives priority to development of highly capable Land Forces, which are responsive, multi-role, sustainable and deployable. Land forces consist of the Reaction Brigade “Iron Wolf” (which includes two mechanised, two motorised battalions and an artillery battalion), Engineer battalion, Jaeger battalion, Logistic command and other field units (including a HQ battalion and medical services). The NDVF (National Defence Volunteer Force) is an integral part of the Land Forces.
International Projects: These remain among the most important aspects of Lithuania’s international co-operation. Joint projects are implemented together with Estonia, Latvia, Poland and other countries. The main tasks of these projects are to strengthen national defence capabilities and to enhance interoperability with NATO.

The trilateral (Estonian/Latvian/Lithuanian) project BALTBAT has been completed. The project was very beneficial to all three Baltic States because sergeants, NCOs, and commissioned officers were trained according to NATO standards and requirements. Leadership as well as combat skills of the Baltic troops were also assessed and commended by NATO experts during BALTBAT troop participation in military exercises, international peace enforcement and peacekeeping operations.

LITPOLBAT: The 784-strong joint Polish/Lithuanian battalion (LITPOLBAT) is designed for international operations aimed at supporting and restoring peace and security as well as international humanitarian and rescue operations. It includes two Lithuanian companies and two companies from the Polish Army’s 4th Brigade. In 2000, LITPOLBAT was identified as a component of the Rapid Reaction Forces formed by the EU. Another objective of the battalion is to be also included in NATO-led multinational forces for implementation of international peace operations. The LITPOLBAT platoon is currently participating in the international operation in Iraq.

Air Forces:

Personnel: 1172
Structure: The Air Force consists of AF Headquarters, First Aviation Base, Second Aviation Base (for now the 1st is in Siauliai and the 2nd in Panevezys, though plans are underway to regroup all aviation assets on a single airbase in Siauliai), Airspace Surveillance and Control Board, Regional Airspace Surveillance and Co-ordination Centre, Lithuanian National Node, Air Defence Battalion.
In 2000, an Air Defence battalion was established and equipped with anti-aircraft artillery and target detection radars under Air Force command.
Equipment: 2 L–39 C and 2 L–39ZA aircraft, 7 transport aircraft (3 AN-26, 2 L – 410 and 2 An-2), 9 Mi-8. The air defence battalion is equipped with M-48 air defence system with 18 L-70 guns.

BALTNET: The joint Baltic Regional Air Surveillance Network (BALTNET), established in co-operation between the Air Forces of the three Baltic States, consists of a single Regional Air Surveillance Co-ordination Centre (RASCC) located in Karmelava (Lithuania) and three national centres located in each of the participating countries. The RASCC collects radar data from the three countries and produces a full air picture of the region, which is then forwarded to the three national information centres. BALTNET is NATO-interoperable and will be connected with the NATO network.


Personnel: 693.
Structure: Headquarters of the Naval Force, Warship flotilla, Sea and coastal surveillance service, Logistic service, Harbour Defence Unit, and training centre.
Fleet: Combat ship squadron - light frigates F11 Žemaitis and F12 Aukštaitis; Patrol ship squadron - fast patrol vessel P31 “Dzukas”, and patrol vessels P32 “Selis” and P33 “Skalvis”; Mine-hunter squadron - mine sweepers M51 “Kursis” and M52 “Suduvis”, and supply ship A41 “Vetra”; Cutters unit: harbour boat H21 and harbour tugboat H22.
Missions: To control, protect and defend the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Lithuania; in conjunction with the Air Force and other services, to conduct search and rescue at sea (SAR).
International co-operation: Four main areas of cooperative activity include: cooperation within the framework of Partnership for Peace (PfP), cooperation in developing the Sea and Coastal Service system, cooperation among the Baltic States and bilateral co-operation. Co-operation among the Baltic States is mostly developed through a joint naval project, the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON). BALTRON has been established in order to achieve closer co-operation between the navies of the three Baltic states. BALTRON is also available for international peace missions, including mine-clearance operations in particular.


  1. Date: 9/01/03. This number includes professional military, conscripts, cadets and civilians.
  2. for 2003.