Latvia Signs Order for German IRIS-T Air Defense

World Defense

Latvia Signs Order for German IRIS-T Air Defense

The Latvian government has recently finalized a significant contract valued at approximately €600 million ($650 million) with Germany Diehl Defence for the acquisition of the IRIS-T medium-range air defense system, as revealed by the manufacturer on Monday.

This landmark agreement, inked on November 30, marks Latvia most substantial defense investment in over three decades of independence, according to Diehl official statement. The contract is a follow-up to a framework agreement previously established between the company and the governments of Latvia and Estonia back in September.

Diehl emphasized the strategic advantages of the joint procurement by both Baltic nations, asserting that it will result in cost savings, enhance mutual coordination in the defense of the Baltic States region, and improve the interoperability of systems and components. Riga is slated to begin receiving components of the IRIS-T system under this contract starting in 2026.

Latvia and Estonia have consistently expressed their interest in collaborating on the acquisition of such defense systems to establish a robust, multi-layered air defense system in response to security concerns posed by Russia in the Baltic region.

Jacek Siewiera, the head of Poland National Security Bureau, recently cautioned NATO eastern flank states to effectively prepare for potential confrontations with Russia within the next three years. The IRIS-T SLM, a key component of Latvia defense strategy, is specifically designed to neutralize threats posed by a variety of enemy aerial systems, including aircraft, cruise missiles, drones, and helicopters, operating at ranges of up to 40 km (25 miles), according to Diehl website.

The Ukrainian military has reported the effective use of IRIS-T batteries donated to them, highlighting their success in protecting population centers. In a gesture of support, the German Ministry of Defense announced the dispatch of four additional IRIS-T SLM systems to Kyiv as part of a military aid package exceeding $1.4 billion. Diehl has consistently highlighted the system successful performance in Ukraine, particularly in intercepting Russian drones and missiles, as a key selling point.

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