Spain to send more troops and NASAMS air defense missiles to Latvia
Spain is sending a battery of surface-to-air missiles and around 100 troops to the NATO mission in Latvia, the media outlet El Pais wrote Saturday, May 28, echoed by eng.lsm.lv (Latvian Public Broadcasting). These troops will join the existing forces of around 500 Spanish troops in the Baltic States. Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks thanked Spain and Robles on Twitter about it being the first ally to respond to Latvia's requests to beef up NATO presence in the region.
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Spanish army NASAMS air defense missile system (Picture source: Wikipedia)
The Spanish Defense Ministry plans to deploy a battery of surface-to-air NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) in Latvia, El Pais wrote. Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said: "Our commitment to NATO is total. We have troops at the moment in Latvia and also in Lithuania, we have our ships in the Mediterranean".
On May 29, Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told LETA that the installation of the surface-to-air missiles will 'change the game to anyone who wants to use aviation in the territory in Latvia': “The NASAMS is smaller than the Patriot anti-air defense system, and it will not cover the entire territory of Latvia, only part of it, so we will deploy it not too far from Riga. The system is mobile and we can transfer it from one place to another, it is also significantly cheaper than the Patriot anti-air defense system because it does not have a long-range range and would cost around €100 million. At the moment, we only have close-distance protection, and we have therefore got the next level of protection,” said Pabriks.
There are only two NASAMS currently in Lithuania, while Estonians have been talking for some time about purchasing such a system.