RIGA - Latvia and Estonia have decided to jointly purchase the IRIS-T medium-range air defense missiles, which means that this will be the largest military procurement since Latvia regained its independence, Latvian Defense Minister Inara Murniece (National Alliance) told reporters on Sunday.
The potential contract amount and other details have not been disclosed, but deliveries of the systems could start in 2025. Until then, soldiers have to be trained and necessary infrastructure developed. Meanwhile, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters that the purchase would be worth hundreds of millions of euros.
The ISIS-T system will be new, advanced and militarily proven, and it will be effective against Russian aircraft.
As reported, the Latvian Defense Ministry has three missile system projects which need to be accelerated in order to strengthen Latvia's defense. These include a coastal defense system against warships, medium-range air defense systems and rocket artillery.
During NATO's Madrid Summit last year, Latvia and Estonia signed a letter of intent on the acquisition of medium-range air defense systems . It was previously reported that EUR 600 million could be earmarked for the purchase of the air defense systems.
Earlier this year, Latvian Defense Chief Lieutenant General Leonids Kalnins told a meeting of the Saeima's Defense, Internal Affairs and Anti-Corruption Commission that medium-range air defense systems operate at altitudes of more than 10-12 kilometers and in a range of up to 25 kilometers.