Latvia to send its entire FIM-92 Stinger missiles MANPADS stock to Ukraine

At the Ukraine Defense Contact Group gathering focused on Ukraine's defense held last Friday, April 21, 2023, Ināra Mūrniece, Latvia's Minister of Defence, declared the country's intent to transfer its entire stock of FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine.
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U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher P. Roseblossom, left, a low altitude air defense (LAAD) gunner with the 2nd LAAD Battalion, fires an FIM- 92 Stinger missile during a live-fire training exercise at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Oct. 10, 2017. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

Latvia has taken action in response to Ukraine's appeal for air defense systems, opting to send all remaining Stinger air defense equipment to the nation. "We are committed to facilitating the delivery to Ukraine as promptly as possible," stated Mūrniece.

Furthermore, Latvia maintains its ongoing efforts to provide training programs for Ukrainian military personnel.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, Latvia has consistently provided support in numerous ways. They have supplied cars starting from March 2023, as well as six M109 self-propelled howitzers in August 2022. In addition, they have furnished Ukraine with two Mil Mi-8MTV-1 transport helicopters and two Mil Mi-2 transport helicopters, both in August 2022, along with two Mi-17 helicopters scheduled for future delivery.

Latvian companies have contributed over 90 unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been delivered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine by Latvia's Ministry of Defence since 2022. The ministry has also sent FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine from 2022 onwards.

Latvia is set to provide dozens of machine guns with ammunition, 30 truckloads of individual equipment and supplies (including combat helmets, dried food, medical devices, and medicine) from the Latvian National Armed Forces, as well as spare parts for howitzers.

In terms of training and rehabilitation, Latvia has trained 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers in 2022 and plans to train an additional 2,000 in 2023. They have also offered demining training and rehabilitation for 250 soldiers, with 130 in 2022 and 120 more in 2023.

Finally, Latvia has provided financial aid, including €500,000 from the Riga City Council to Ukraine on 25 February 2022 and €1.2 million from the Government of Latvia to the Armed Forces of Ukraine on 26 February 2022.

The FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense System) is a lightweight, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system designed for targeting and destroying low-altitude aircraft. Developed by the United States, it is a versatile and effective weapon for infantry units, providing them with increased protection against airborne threats.

The Stinger MANPADS is designed to counter a variety of aerial threats, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) flying at low to medium altitudes. The system is particularly effective against targets within its range of approximately 8 km (5 miles) and at altitudes up to 3,800 m (12,500 feet).