Military mechanisation to cost €250m

Latvia's defense ministry on Thursday outlined the total cost of gaining valuable mechanized infantry capability, with the total price tag running to around €250 million over eight years.

As previously reported by LSM, in 2012 Latvia signed a deal with the United Kingdom to buy 123 used but refurbished combat and support vehicles for around £40m (€50m euros) including some upgrades.

But an informative graphic published on Latvia's armed forces news portal, Sargs.lv shows that the bargain price tag represents only a fraction of the total spend, with installation of communications and weapons guidance systems alone costing as much as the actual purchase price of each vehicle.

While each vehicle costs on average €344,000, modern comms systems add €337,000 to that. Then come weapons and ammunition (€81,000), spare parts and tool (€41,000) and further modernization not included in the original upgrade package (€62,000).

With everything included, that gives a price tag of €871,000 to each vehicle, and with 123 units that comes to around €107 million.

However, that's not the end of the costs. The Defense Ministry confirmed to LSM that the total price tag is set to rise to €249.5 million over the period to 2021 because "financing is planned for the maintenance of vehicles and equipment and weapons, for personnel and their training, for infrastructure building and purchasing ammunition."

While €250m is not a small amount of money, it does see Latvia fairly rapidly gain a modern combat capability in which it was previously deficient.

With questions currently abounding concerning not only Russia's intentions in the Baltic states but the Baltic states' own commitment to defense spending, the timing of such a significant investment should also serve as a sign that Latvia is serious about defending itself.

Indeed UK military instructors are already in Latvia to help the familiarization process with the new arrivals:

 

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