(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Rheinmetall AG moved forward with plans to build an ammunition plant in Lithuania that’s expected to become the biggest defense industry investment in the Baltic nation and boost the region’s security. 

Rheinmetall’s Maximilian Froch signed a letter of intent with the Lithuanian government in the capital, Vilnius, Tuesday to produce artillery rounds in the country. No further details were given on the partnership or the size of the investment. 

“All projects that strengthen the European defense industry, that expand its capacity, represent an important step forward,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told reporters. “I have no doubt this project will also significantly contribute to the European initiative for all us to feel safer, for our freedom to be better armed than tyrannies.” 

Lithuania is fast-tracking the entry of the German arms manufacturer, whose projects it deems to be a security guarantee in an increasingly challenging security environment. Lawmakers are also debating legal amendments that would allow the start to construction of a production facility before all permits are secured. That could allow building work to begin within some six months rather than the typical two and a half years for such projects. 

The investment follows a decision by the German government to expand its military deployment in Lithuania to a full brigade of about 5,000 troops within three years. Lithuania also plans to further raise defense spending beyond the projected 2.75% of gross domestic product this year to accommodate the incoming troops and to expand its own capabilities.

“One of the main lessons from the war in Ukraine is that having ammunition production locally is a key national security interest,” Defense Minister Laurynas Kasciunas said at the same press conference. “This is what we aimed for over many years and it’s becoming a reality.”

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