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Military Capabilities

Latvia seeks medium-range GBADS as part of wider military revamp

30 November 2018
The Kongsberg NASAMS could be a suitable medium-range GBADS solution for Latvia, given that it has a shorter range than the Patriot and is already on order for Lithuania. Source: Kongsberg

Latvia is seeking to field a medium-range ground-based air-defence system (GBADS) as part of a wider modernisation of its armed forces, Jane's was told on 28 November.

Speaking at the Berlin Security Conference in the German capital, Jãnis Garisons, State Secretary for the Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Baltic nation wants to acquire a medium-range GBADS to augment the short-range Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger manportable air-defence system (MANPADS) and Saab RBS-70 very short-range air-defence (VSHORAD) system it has previously procured.

"We have asked NATO to conduct market research into a suitable system to join the hundreds of Stingers we already have," Garisons said.

While Garisons declined to identify any candidate solutions, he did note that Latvia was not looking for a capability on a level of the Raytheon Patriot GBADS. "The Patriot would be too much for us," he said. While he also would not be drawn on the performance parameters of any GBADS and what implications such a system might have on Latvia's relations with Russia, Garisons did say that his country is not concerned with any adverse reaction from its neighbour.

In terms of timelines for this medium-range GBADS requirement, Garisons told Jane's that it is a longer-term goal and not an immediate priority.

Latvia's interest in a medium-range GBADS is part of a wider revamp of its defensive capabilities that has been largely borne out of concerns over Russia's intentions towards the former Soviet republic following the 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, and the continued hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

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