Latvia signs deal to buy 'Stinger' missiles from Denmark

Latvia has signed a deal with Denmark to buy an unspecified quantity of Stinger ground-to-air missiles from Denmark.

After saying he had been pleasantly surprised by recent inspection tours of National Guard and other facilities in Latvia as the country ramps up its defensive capabilities, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis revealed the purchase on LTV.

"Last weekend we signed a deal with the Danish armed forces to acquire the Stinger air defense system, which will be with our armed forces in the near future, and will also be used by the National Guard to protect the whole of our territory," Bergmanis said. 

Barely able to refrain from beaming as he made the announcement, the minister said he was very proud of the deal as it was "very symbolic" as "the whole world knows the name of this highly effective air defense system and knows what it means."

However, a still-smiling Bergmanis was reluctant to reveal how much money had been spent and how many Stinger systems had been bought.

"I don't think now is the time to reveal that. It's not too big a sum, but we get a good number of these weapons... and it's very, very important," he said.

He promised to reveal the sum at a later date, with agreement from the Danish side.

Denmark first adopted the Stinger missile system, manufactured by Raytheon of the United States, in 1996. All three branches of the Royal Danish Armed Forces have had Stingers in their armories.

However, as this official policy document of the Danish government from 2009 shows, a decision was taken in Denmark to reduce costs by cutting air defense capabilities:

"The Army’s air-defence capability is to be decommissioned. This measure entails that the Danish Armed Forces’s ability to conduct land-based active defence against aircraft and helicopter threats is eliminated. The control and early warning component, however, is to be preserved and transferred to the Air Force, where it is to be merged with the Air Force’s control and early warning capability."

Svend Olaf Vestergard, head of public affairs at the Danish Ministry of Defense told LSM:

"I can confirm the recent signing of the contract between Denmark and Latvia concerning the Stinger Missile System [but] I cannot comment further on quantity nor price as that is the buyer's prerogative to disclose.

"All Danish Stinger-missiles (kept as well as sold) are from the mid-nineties. And even though Danish Defence at the moment does not have a Stinger-capacity we still have a considerable stock also after the contract with Latvia."

A statement later in the day from the Latvian Ministry of Defense said the goods would be delivered "in the first half of 2018."

Back in 2002, Lithuania bought 60 Stinger missiles and eight launch systems from the U.S. for 31 million dollars. The units arrived in 2007, Lithuania having joined NATO alongside Latvia and Estonia in 2004.

 

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