Latvia Upgrades Its Air Defence Capabilities
Latvian Ministry of Defence has ordered another batch of the RBS-70 short range anti-aircraft missiles. The said armament is going to be delivered by the end of 2016.
Latvia had acquired the first examples of the RBS-70 missiles back in 2004. The procurement which was planned now is going to expand the capabilities of the Latvian air defence units, particularly when it comes to the threat posed by the helicopters and the attack aircraft. The acquisition deal, the value of which is estimated as EUR 3.6 million, also includes the auxiliary equipment and a training solution.
However, the exact scope of the purchase has not been disclosed to the public. According to the official announcement, Latvia acquired only the missiles, however rumours suggest that launchers are also going to be a part of the delivery. The launcher is used to designate the target with a laser, thanks to which the missile can be guided. The system offers an effective range of 8 km, when the BOLIDE missile is used. Airborne targets, flying at altitudes of up to 5000 meters may be neutralized with the use of the said missile. Moreover, a modernized variant of the system – RBS 70 NG – also exists.
The Swedes announced that the Saab’s product has been, so far, acquired by 19 countries. More than 1,600 launchers and 17,000 missiles have been already delivered to the end users.
Latvia also decided, just recently, to acquire the Stinger missiles, along with radars, dedicated to be used for detection and tracking of the airborne targets. Due to the Ukrainian crisis, the Latvian defence expenditure has been increased.