Dec 4, 2023
On Thursday, November 30, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and Diehl Defence signed a purchase order on the procurement of the IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defence system. For Latvia, it is the biggest defence investment since its independence more than 30 years ago.
The procurement is based on the framework agreement signed between Latvia, Estonia and Diehl Defence in September 2023.
By signing the purchase order worth around 600 million euros, Latvia will receive all the necessary equipment for an effective operation of the IRIS-T SLM system, which will ensure the introduction of layered air defence in Latvia as well as the integration of existing short-range capabilities.
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Diehl Defence will start deliveries of its medium-range air defence systems in 2026. Until then, Latvia will train its personnel and upgrade its infrastructure in such a way that the National Armed Forces are ready to fully operate and maintain the IRIS-T SLM systems by the time of delivery.
The purchase of the IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defence system will contribute to Latvia's goal to establish a multi-layered air defence system, in which air defence systems of various ranges do not only protect other ground assets, but also provide mutual protection to each other and operate in a network environment. Each successive layer increases the overall resilience of the entire system against adversary activities.
The joint procurement by the two Baltic nations of one type of air defence system will allow Latvia and Estonia to save budgetary funds and facilitate mutual coordination in the defence of the Baltic States region. Furthermore, it facilitates the interoperability and interchangeability of systems and components.
Within the Diehl Defence product range, IRIS-T SLM is designed for countering threats posed by enemy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and drones at a range of up to 40 km and an altitude of up to 20 km. An IRIS-T SLM fire unit consists of the components missile launcher, radar and tactical operations center. It is supplemented by support elements such as workshop, spare parts and reloading vehicles. The system is characterized by its high tactical mobility, deployability of the missile launchers and multiple target engagement with low personnel requirement.
The IRIS-T SLM system convinces with its excellent performance in operational use in Ukraine. According to the customer, the system achieved a very high hit rate even during waves of attack with more than 12 targets.