Latvia has joined forces with the United States in an agreement, acquiring Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems from Norwegian company Kongsberg and US manufacturer Raytheon. 

The deal, announced on 8 December, 2023, marks a moment in the enduring security collaboration between the two nations.

Latvia’s defence minister, Andris Sprūds, expressed gratitude, “We highly appreciate the contribution of the US to our national security at a time when the world is facing various geopolitical challenges. Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems will expand the range of capabilities available to the National Armed Forces and will play an integral role in our national defence.” 

The Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems, with a striking range of up to 185km, are set to safeguard coastal areas and shipping lanes.

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By GlobalData

Romania is another country that has bolstered its coastal defence capabilities with naval strike missile (NSM) coastal defence systems. Meanwhile, Kongsberg also solidified their partnership with Baltic Sea neighbour Poland, securing a $1.bn contract to deliver four NSM Coastal Defence Systems.

Highlighting the historic co-operation, US Ambassador Christopher Robinson emphasised the importance of democratic nations standing together against threats, “With today’s announcement, we mark an important milestone in the longstanding security cooperation between the United States and Latvia. 

Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine has shown that democratic countries need to stand together at the guard of their sovereignty, values and freedom. The United States is proud to support Latvia in building its defensive capabilities.”

Notably, the US will cover 70% of the total costs, emphasising the collaborative nature of the strategic alliance.

The procurement agreement aligns with Latvia’s broader strategic initiatives, as evidenced by amendments to the Law on Financing National Defence in April 2022. The commitment to gradually raise national defence spending to 2.5% of the projected gross domestic product by 2025 reflects Latvia’s dedication to fortifying its security apparatus.

Scheduled for delivery in 2027, these defence systems, utilised by various NATO member states, signal Latvia’s preparedness and commitment to collective defence efforts. The National Armed Force missile capability programme, focusing on naval strike missile coastal defence systems, medium-range air defence systems, and artillery systems, is set to accelerate, surpassing initial plans by approximately five years.

Latvia is reinforcing its defence capabilities by procuring US missile systems on land and sea fronts. In a $220m deal, Latvia acquired six M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). 

As Latvia strategically positions itself to face evolving threats, the Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems acquisition stands as a testament to the nation’s proactive approach to building a defence infrastructure with the support of a key ally, the United States.