Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas has announced that the country’s government aims to sign a letter of intent with Germany to purchase Leopard 2 tanks for the ground forces.

“The Defense Resources Council of the Ministry of National Defence, taking into account the detailed market analysis and military assessment carried out by the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the Defense Resources Agency, has approved the proposal to… [propose] to the State Defense Council to send a letter of intent to the German Defense Ministry regarding the acquisition of Leopard tanks,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Lithuanian military evaluated “German Leopard, American Abrams and [South Korean] Black Panther tanks,” according to the minister.

Key evaluation criteria the military used to select their preferred vehicle included price and maintenance costs, operating environment, mobility, safety, adaptability, protection, firepower and interoperability, Anušauskas said.

It did not disclose the estimated value of the planned acquisition and the number, or variant of Leopard 2 tanks to be purchased.

The latest development comes after Lithuania’s defense chief, Lt. Gen. Valdemaras Rupšys, said in March that the Baltic nation intends to purchase up to 54 tanks to bolster the combat capabilities of ground forces.

Under the plan, Lithuania will establish a division-sized unit within its armed forces in reaction to Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The unit will include infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, among other vehicles. The State Defense Council approved the initiative in May.

A growing number of Eastern European allies are moving forward with plans to acquire German-made tanks. Among others, the Czech Republic plans to purchase up to 50 new Leopard 2A7+ tanks.

Jaroslaw Adamowski