Bring out the big guns - Latvia signs howitzer deal

Latvia has officially signed on the dotted line to buy 47 units of self-propelled artillery howitzers from Austria in a deal that was signalled a few months ago.

Confirmation of the deal came from the Defense Ministry April 27 saying the two nations had "signed a bilateral agreement om the acquisition of the type M109A5Oe self-propelled howitzer system, including fire management and training platforms."

The signing of the deal took place in Malta on the sidelines of a meeting of EU Defense Ministers.

As the tweet below shows, the deal is just part of a wider effort by the Baltic states to increase their firepower and deterrent capabilities.

As previously reported by LSM, the guns were originally British Army stock before being sold to Austria in 1994, were modernized between 2003 and 2007 and kept in storage.

The cost per unit, depending on its specification is from 60,000 to 140,000 euros.

In February the ministry told LSM the total value of the deal was around 6 million euros.

It is planned that the first howitzers will be delivered this autumn. Meanwhile Austrian technicians are instructing Latvian counterparts in the practical aspects of running the hardware, the ministry said.

They have a range of 22 to 30 km, depending upon the type of shells fired and a well-trained crew can fire up to 12 shells per minute, the ministry said.

 

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