The Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur discussed the possibilities of Estonian-Latvian cooperation with his Latvian counterpart, Artis Pabriks, during his first foreign visit to Riga. The strengthening of the region’s defence capabilities will focus on the joint procurement of a medium-range air defence system, the development of MLRS/HIMARS land-based multiple rocket launcher capability, the implementation of the decisions taken at the Madrid Summit, and the need to continue providing assistance to Ukraine.
“At present, one of the key tasks in our cooperation is to forge ahead with the Estonian-Latvian joint procurement of medium-range air defence systems. I hope that the governments of both countries will quickly take the necessary decisions to start the actual purchase process. The HIMARS multiple rocket launcher capability development cooperation project is another important priority. We also want to move forward swiftly with the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania defence cooperation agreement. This will only serve to strengthen the already close cooperation between the three Baltic States,,” said Minister of Defence Pevkur after the meeting.
The defence ministers also discussed Estonia’s experience with its reserve army and conscription based model of defence, and its importance as a pillar of the country’s independent defence. They acknowledge Latvia’s plan to return to conscription. The defensive will of small countries and the strength of their independent defence capabilities lies in their reserve forces. Defence Ministers Pevkur and Pabriks also laid wreaths at the memorial to the first Commander of the National Armed Forces of Latvia, Colonel Oskars Kalpaks.
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the United States Army and mounted on a standard U.S. Army M1140 truck frame. The M142 carries one pod with either six GMLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile on the U.S. Army’s new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) five-ton truck, and can launch the entire Multiple Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions (MFOM). M142 ammunition pods are interchangeable with the M270 MLRS; however, it is able to carry only one pod rather than the standard two for the M270 and its variants. The launcher can be transported by Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft