Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Latvia strengthens coastal defense with new ship-killer missiles

Latvia, in partnership with the United States, has finalized an agreement to acquire Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense Systems manufactured by Norwegian company Kongsberg and US-based manufacturer Raytheon.

The announcement was made jointly by Defence Minister Andris Sprūds and US Ambassador Christopher Robinson on Friday, December 8.

Defense Minister Sprūds lauded the collaboration, emphasizing its pivotal role in enhancing Latvia’s defense capabilities in the face of evolving geopolitical challenges. “The addition of Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense Systems will substantially broaden our National Armed Forces’ capabilities and serve as a cornerstone in our national defense strategy,” Sprūds stated. He highlighted the system’s crucial role in safeguarding coastal territories and securing shipping lanes, underscoring its potential for collective defense within the Alliance.

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Ambassador Robinson echoed the sentiments, emphasizing the importance of unified action among democratic nations in response to global threats. “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine underscores the necessity for democratic countries to unite in safeguarding their sovereignty and shared values. The United States stands proud in supporting Latvia’s defensive capabilities,” stated Ambassador Robinson, emphasizing the collaborative stance against adversarial actions.

The procurement, estimated at a total cost of USD 105 million, will witness substantial financial support from the United States, covering 70% of the acquisition expenses, with Latvia funding the remaining 30%. The Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System, capable of targeting both sea and land-based threats within a range of 185 kilometers, is already employed by several NATO member states, including the USA, Poland, Germany, Norway, Romania, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Anticipated for delivery in 2027, these systems mark a significant advancement in Latvia’s defense infrastructure. The acquisition aligns with Latvia’s commitment to bolster its defense capabilities, notably outlined in the amendments to the Law on Financing National Defense, which targets raising national defense spending to 2.5% of the projected annual gross domestic product by 2025.

Furthermore, the prioritization of critical capabilities outlined in the National Armed Force missile capability program, such as naval strike missile coastal defense systems, medium-range air defense systems, and artillery systems, has received increased funding. This strategic allocation aims to accelerate the development of essential National Armed Force capabilities by approximately five years compared to initial plans.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more

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