VILNIUS, Lithuania, May 31 (UPI) -- Lithuania is to hold talks with Norway on procuring the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System.
The decision on talks for the medium-range defense system was made late last week by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense.
"We have decided to open negotiations with the Norwegian government on possible purchase of the NASAMS systems," Lithuania's Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told the Baltic News Service, but no details of possible system price was disclosed.
"This could simply defend our airspace in the medium range," the minister said. "We have short-range aircraft defense systems that can reach three to five kilometers [about 1.8 to 3.1 miles], and this will be the medium range where missiles fly dozens of kilometers and can take down targets at an altitude of 15 kilometers [about 9.3 miles]."
Lithuania has been boosting its military capabilities following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and Moscow's military activities in the Baltic Sea region.
The Baltic Times said Lithuania's 2016 defense budget is nearly $539.6 million, with plans to increase it by about $166.8 million in 2017.
WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- Australia has received State Department approval for acquisition of as many as 80 SM-2 missiles through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages the program, said the possible deal carries a total value of $302 million and would include vertical launch canisters for the SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services.
"It is vital to U.S. national interests that Australia develops and maintains a strong and ready self-defense capability," the agency said in its notification to Congress. "This sale is consistent with U.S. regional objectives."
Australia plans to use the missiles for anti-air warfare test firings during Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials for the Royal Australian Navy's three new Air Warfare Destroyers now under construction.
The SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, combined with the destroyers' Aegis combat systems, will provide enhanced area defense capabilities over critical Southeast Asian air and sea lines of communication.
The principal contractors would be Raytheon and BAE Systems.