Amid the tensions at the Ukrainian-Russian border, the  this Baltic country is ramping up its military spending and beefing up its military arsenal along with its NATO allies in the region to respond to a possible Russian threat. The Lithuanian defense budget is said to be over the 2% GDP NATO threshold, reaching over $1.3 billion in 2021. What have they been doing with all the money?

In the first few weeks of January, it was reported that the Lithuanian government had accelerated its purchase of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) from Lockheed Martin, specifically the M270 MLRS. These rocket systems are simply self-propelled rocket launchers used by countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan. The Lithuanian government initially wanted to purchase the system in 2028 and has now moved the purchase date to 2026.

M270A1 Rocket Launchers from C Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division fire rockets during a cross-boundary live-fire March 25 near Cheorwon, South Korea (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M270A1_Multiple_Launch_Rocket_System_South_Dakota_ANG.jpg
M270A1 Rocket Launchers from C Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division fire rockets during a cross-boundary live-fire March 25 near Cheorwon, South Korea (Staff Sgt. Charles Butler/South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas stated that the reason for this acceleration was because of continued security threats around the region, which requires it to have the capacity to defend itself. This purchase will be made in coordination with Estonia and Latvia so that the three Baltic states will have long-range weapons to respond to any threats in Eastern Europe.

More so, the Lithuanian government has allocated $364 million to purchase not only these MLRS but also military helicopters and armored vehicles to support its own military arsenal and allies in the region. Many analysts have stated that this increase in investment in weapons is due to the heavy military activity along the Belarusian border and Russia’s joint exercises with the nation. Another potential motive for the investment is to increase reactiveness in the case of an invasion, where it would have to support its NATO allies, including the United States, which has long complained that NATO countries have not been spending enough on their own defense obligations to the alliance.