Latvia to buy Stinger missiles from US

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Latvia will buy Stinger air-defense systems from the United States, Latvian chief of defense Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube said in an interview on LTV's Rita Panorama news show Friday.

Graube indicated that the decision to buy the advanced weapons was made during his recent visit to the US.

The exact number of systems and total cost has yet to be agreed, Graube said.

"It depends on the budget options - if everything will go according to plan, negotiations will begin next year," Graube said.

They would most likely be stationed at the military base in Adazi just outside Riga, Graube indicated, admitting that air-defense and control is the weak spot of the Latvian armed forces.

The Stinger is a highly personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM), which can be adapted to fire from infantry units, ground vehicles or helicopters and entered into service in the US in 1981.

The manner in which the Stinger is deployed can be seen in the video below.

Also in the interview, Graube said the stationing of heavy weaponry from the US in Latvia will begin this fall.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said during a visit to Estonia in June that the US military will be sending 250 units of heavy weaponry, including dozens of tanks, Bradley armored fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers to allied countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania will each get a set of military equipment.

The increased presence is intended to deter any possible Russian aggression in the region.

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