Since 2014, Estonia has continued to increase its military spending, as have Estonia and Lithuania. According to NATO statistics, these are currently 967 million euros [en euros courants], an amount equivalent to 2.27% of its GDP. And there is talk of reaching 3 percent of GDP before 2027.
However, in comparison to its Baltic neighbors, despite this continuous effort for almost ten years, Latvia has lagged behind in strengthening the capacity of its armed forces, with emphasis on numbers, especially on the re-establishment of military service. “The foundation and backbone of the concept of state security is the Latvian soldier, the national guard and Latvian society,” underlined General Leonids Kalnis, head of the country’s armed forces.
As such, Riga has announced few orders for new equipment other than armored personnel carriers. [200 véhicules de type CAVS, basé sur le Patria 6×6]German IRIS-T SLM air defense system [dans le cadre d’un achat mutualisé avec l’Estonie]UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter [4 exemplaires] and Coastal Defense Battery NSM CDS.
While welcoming a multinational NATO battalion, Latvia wants to modernize its capabilities in the field of artillery, which are based on around thirty US-made M109A5Ö self-propelled howitzers, acquired with Austria in 2017. [et dont 6 ont été cédés à l’armée ukrainienne, ndlr].
Indeed, in October 2022, the Latvian Ministry of Defense stated that it intends to acquire six M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] with the United States, and thus follow Lithuania’s example [8 exemplaires commandés] and Estonia [6 unités]. You would have thought that the acquisition process would be quick. But in fact, it took a year for the US administration to ratify the order.
Thus, through a notification issued on October 24, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency [DSCA]Responsible for exports of US military equipment under the FMS procedure [Foreign Military Sales] Recommends Congress approve possible sale of six M142 HIMARS to Latvia [avec les équipements associés] Estimated at $220 million.
The sale will “enhance Latvia’s ability to counter current and future threats, and strengthen its interoperability with the United States and allies.” There will be no difficulty in integrating this equipment into its armed forces,” DSCA explained.
🇺🇸🇱🇻 Strengthening Defense Partnership. Tea @Department of State Authorizes proposed foreign military sales #Latvia M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems #Himars Estimated at $220 million. Related equipment, training and… pic.twitter.com/wP7szTlTVa
— US Embassy Riga (@USEmbassyRiga) October 25, 2023
“Certified food fanatic. Extreme internet guru. Gamer. Evil beeraholic. Zombie ninja. Problem solver. Unapologetic alcohol lover.”