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Latvia orders IRIS-T SLM air-defence system

The Latvian MoD has signed a EUR600 million contract with Diehl for IRIS-T SLM air-defence systems. (Diehl)

The Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Diehl Defence have announced that they signed a contract on 30 November for the delivery of the IRIS-T SLM (Surface Launched Medium Range) air-defence system to Latvia. The EUR600 million (USD649 million) contract was signed by Latvian National Armaments Director Mārtiņš Paškēvičs and Torsten Cook, senior vice-president of Diehl Defence's ground-based air-defence business unit.

The order follows the signing of the framework contract by then Latvian Defence Minister Ināra Mūrniece and her Estonian counterpart, Hanno Pevkur, with Diehl on 11 September. The two ministers announced on 21 May that the two Baltic states were jointly procuring IRIS-T. Mūrniece and Pevkur said at the time that the joint purchase would create a new ‘Livonian shield' protecting their countries' airspace.

Diehl is scheduled to begin deliveries of the IRIS-T SLM to Latvia in 2026. In the meantime, Latvia will train its personnel and upgrade its infrastructure so the Latvian National Armed Forces can operate and maintain the IRIS-T SLM systems by the time they are delivered.

Diehl announced on 3 August that it, the Luftwaffe, and Gebäudemanagement Schleswig-Holstein (GMSH) had opened a ground-based air-defence training facility at the Todendorf training ground on Germany's Baltic Sea coast. The company told Janes at DSEI 2023, held in London from 12 to 15 September, that Estonia and Latvia would receive training, along with the Luftwaffe, at the facility. However, when asked by Janes, a Latvian MoD spokesperson declined to answer when training was taking place and how long it would take, citing national security concerns.

On 5 December the spokesperson told Janes

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