RIGA - A bilateral agreement between the Latvian Defense Ministry and the Austrian Defense and Sports Ministry on the purchase of self-propelled artillery system, which includes self-propelled howitzers, fire control center and driver training platform, today.
Practical training of Latvian specializes in the use of these systems has already been started.
Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens/Farmers) these days will take part in the informal meeting of the EU defense ministers in Malta. On Wednesday Bergmanis met with Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil and signed the purchase agreement.
"We highly appreciate the successful cooperation with Austria in strengthening our indirect fire support capability. I wish to thank the Austrian Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces for their invaluable support and contribution in the development of our cooperation and training of the Latvian troops. Just a year has passed since my visit to Austria and talks on purchase of howitzers, and now we can say that we have achieved what we planned," said Bergmanis.
The minister also said that such successful cooperation is a secure foundation for further cooperation plans.
Bergmanis during his meeting with the Austrian colleague underscored that the cooperation agreement plays a significant role, especially during the present geopolitical challenges when bilateral relations among the EU member states strengthens security and defense.
As reported, Latvia will purchase of M109 series self-propelled artillery systems.
The price of a unit will be dependent on their modification - between EUR 60,000 to 140,000. The Defense Ministry confirmed earlier that the sum of the agreement is EUR 6 million.
In order to improve the indirect fire support capability of the Latvian Armed Forces, as well as to strengthen Latvia`s ability to fully integrate into NATO operations and exercises, it is planned to purchase 47 units of the military equipment. The howitzers Latvia plans to buy were upgraded in 2003-2007 and then preserved.