Latvia has no more Soviet-era military equipment, says commander

Latvia has completely eliminated the military technology of Soviet times, gradually replacing it with more modern equipment, the National Armed Forces (NBS) Commander Leonīds Kalniņš said in an interview with Latvian Television February 24.

“Looking from the point of view of [the Latvian Army] equipment, from the point of view of arms, we are much better today than we were in 2014, when the first major invasion of Ukraine took place. We are learning, we are supplementing our numerical composition,” the Commander of the NBS said.

According to him, Latvian defense forces are becoming larger, for example, with citizens becoming more actively involved in the National Guard. Similarly, Latvian allies increase their monthly participation in Latvian defense not only with human resources but also by deploying weapons, such as air defense systems from Spain.

Currently, there are more than 3,000 allied soldiers in Latvia, said Kalniņš.

Speaking about the new “Black Hawk” helicopters just received by the Latvian army, the NBS commander said this was a major step in the development of the Latvian air defense forces.

“We have already completely abandoned the [military] technology produced during the Soviet era. And these were the last in our armaments – they were MI17 and MI2 [helicopters] that are now already in Ukraine. But this is such a first step in the long road of developing our military air capabilities,” the commander of the NBS said.

According to him, in the coming years, the Latvian Armed Forces will not only have modern helicopters, but also anti-air defenses, unmanned aircraft, and improvements to the early warning system.

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