A Spanish unit handling the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) has successfully completed a two-day readiness verification exercise in Latvia. 

Comprising 85 Spanish Army personnel attached to Ground Based Air Defence Task Force Latvia (GBAD TF LVA), the unit performed various drills to demonstrate their preparedness to protect Nato’s eastern flank.

The exercise sought to bring the NASAMS unit under the alliance’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence architecture.

It validated the unit’s capability to enforce Nato standards, including response times and communications links with other elements across the region.

As a distributed and networked short to medium-range GBAD system, NASAMS offers defence against uncrewed aerial vehicles, helicopters, cruise missiles, and crewed fixed-wing aircraft.

The Spanish NASAMS combines a US-made MPQ-64 Sentinel Air Defense X Band 3D radar and AMRAAM missiles with Fire Distribution Centre (FDC), a Norwegian battle management system.

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Through data fusion, the FDCs can process radar tracks and generate a complete air picture. The AMRAAM missiles fired from a towed launcher offer a horizontal range of over 25km.

As part of the latest drills, the Spanish task force tracked and engaged in simulated airborne attacks, as well as real tracks, which were represented by live-flying Quick Reaction Alert fighter aircraft from the Hungarian JAS-39 Gripen detachment.

GBAD TF LVA commander major Juan Jesús Fodríguez Lahore said: “We deployed here in mid-June and have since contributed to Nato’s Air Shielding mission of the eastern flank.

“We have worked with our Latvian hosts here at Lielvarde and have been contributing to Nato exercises.

“Thanks to this strong performance during the exercise, the Spanish NASAMS unit, in cooperation with their Latvian colleagues, passed the Readiness Verification, which means it is now certified and ready to defend Latvian airspace under Nato command arrangements.”