US deploys HIMARS to enhance NATO readiness in Latvia exercise
From 19 to 30 September 2022, around 4,200 troops from 17 Allies trained in Latvia to enhance their ability to operate together as part of the multinational exercise Silver Arrow 2022. The exercise involved the temporary deployment of M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers.
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The US Army regularly deploys HIMARS to the Baltics to train alongside NATO Allies. (Picture source: NATO)
Silver Arrow is a long-planned, regular annual exercise. NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Latvia took part in the exercise as part of Latvia’s Mechanised Infantry Brigade. US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) M142 was also deployed to demonstrate their ability to deploy rapidly in the defense of the Alliance.
The US Army regularly deploys HIMARS to the Baltics to train alongside NATO Allies. Should a crisis occur, US Special Operations Command Europe (US SOCEUR) will be able to rush HIMARS launchers nearly anywhere in Europe on short notice. The systems were flown to Rīga and Liepāja airfields with C-130 aircraft. During the live-fire exercise, they were used to shoot rockets on a target in the Baltic Sea waters of Latvia’s exclusive economic zone.
The exercise involved Albania, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Although it appears that the HIMARS batteries deployed to Latvia will be returned to the United States after the exercises are completed, the Latvian government has previously indicated an interest in purchasing the systems from Washington—particularly following their use against invading Russian forces in Ukraine to devastating effect. Latvian defense minister Artis Pabriks claimed on September 26 that the government sought to purchase “fewer than ten” HIMARS batteries from the United States, according to the Baltic Times.