Latvian government approves €175m Black Hawk purchase

Latvia's government on September 11 approved the purchase of the four UH-60M "Black Hawk" helicopters in a deal worth 175 million euros under the Foreign Military Financing Program of the United States of America.

"In order to ensure the long-term financial resources necessary for the replacement of mid-range helicopters and to initiate their acquisition, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to add additional financing to the Ministry of Defense's long-term liabilities for 2023 and 2024, amounting to approximately 80 million euros," an official statement said.

"Replacement of our helicopters is vital not only for the tasks of the National Armed Forces, but also for providing civilian functions, providing support to wider society," said Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis.

The statement said the UH-60M Black Hawk "is the most suitable helicopter for the National Armed Forces, both for military and civilian tasks," without mentioning if any other contenders had been considered. 

"Black Hawk helicopters are designed primarily for military use in crisis situations with multifunctional equipment capable of performing combat missions, search and rescue, medical evacuation, transportation, firefighting and disaster recovery. They have high maneuverability, ballistic and shock resistance, and easy maintenance," the government statement said.

The choppers will be acquired under the Foreign Military Financing Program by concluding an intergovernmental agreement with the United States. It is planned that the contract will include the purchase of helicopters and necessary equipment, training of personnel, purchase of spare parts, technical documentation, support for the implementation of the system, and the introduction of airworthiness and operational procedures in accordance with US standards. The first Black Hawk should be delivered to the National Armed Forces in 2021.

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