Latvia interested in buying HIMARS systems

The Latvian Defense Ministry has received offers from potential suppliers of coastal defense missiles and inquired about purchasing HIMARS artillery rocket systems, which have proved to be highly effective in Ukraine, from the United States, the LETA newswire reports.

The Defense Ministry's priorities regarding the development of missile systems include coastal defense against navy ships, medium-range air defense systems, and artillery rocket systems.

Regarding coastal defense systems, the Defense Ministry has received offers from several potential suppliers. The ministry has analyzed the offers and requested additional information.

Concerning medium-range air defense systems, a decision has been made to purchase medium-range systems together with Estonia. During the NATO summit in Madrid, the defense ministers of Latvia and Estonia signed a joint letter of intent on a joint purchase of such systems. Work on organization of such a purchase is currently under way.

As for artillery rocket systems, Latvia has inquired about the availability and prices of the HIMARS systems in the United States. This is a joint project of the Baltic countries, and the Defense Ministry expects that the United States could co-finance the project. A response from the United States is currently awaited.

The Defense Ministry cannot name the exact amount that all three mentioned systems might cost, but it will certainly be hundreds of millions of euros, said LETA.

"Regarding the development of all the aforementioned capabilities, it is important to point out that this is a new level in the development of national defense, and it will take time," said the Defense Ministry's spokesman Kaspars Galkins, adding that it would also require additional personnel.

Over the next three years Latvia's defense spending will be gradually increased to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product.

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