Latvia is set to enhance its coastal defense capabilities with the acquisition of advanced Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System (NSM CDS), as approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday, 2 May. The move marks a significant milestone in strengthening the country’s defense capabilities and equipping its armed forces with greater firepower and an extended range to effectively target potential threats. The acquisition of the NSM CDS systems represents a significant step forward in Latvia’s efforts to modernize its defense infrastructure. The Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System (NSM CDS) is a highly sophisticated anti-ship missile system known for its precision and effectiveness. Its advanced features, including its long-range capabilities and ability to maneuver in complex environments, make it a formidable asset for coastal defense. The inclusion of the NSM CDS systems in Latvia’s defense arsenal will undoubtedly strengthen its deterrence capabilities and enhance its ability to protect its territorial waters.
In April 2022, the Parliament of Latvia, known as Saeima, amended the defense funding law to gradually increase national defense spending to 2.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, based on projected GDP figures for that year. The allocation of additional budget funds to the missile program of the National Armed Forces allows for the accelerated implementation of critical capability plans by five years. The priorities outlined in the missile program include naval strike systems, medium-range air defense, and rocket artillery systems. The approval of the purchase of NSM systems highlights the government’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding national security. By investing in state-of-the-art defense technology, Latvia aims to stay prepared and respond effectively to emerging security challenges. The partnership with the United States not only demonstrates the close ties between the two nations but also signifies the importance of international collaboration in maintaining regional stability.
The United States has pledged substantial financial support to facilitate the procurement of the NSM systems. In addition to the financial assistance, the US will also collaborate with Latvia to provide training for troops on the operation and maintenance of the equipment. In May 2023, the U.S. State Department has granted approval for a potential Foreign Military Sale of the Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System (NSM CDS) and associated equipment to the Government of Latvia. The estimated cost of this transaction is $110 million. In its request, the Government of Latvia seeks to acquire a comprehensive Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defense System (NSM CDS) package, which includes tactical, telemetered, and training missiles, as well as containers, mobile operational platforms, integration equipment, ordnance handling equipment (OHE), training tools, technical publications and data, training support, spares, and U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance. The sale would also cover other elements of logistical and program support.
Developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA), the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is a versatile weapon system designed for both anti-ship and land-attack purposes. It has been selected by several countries, including Norway, Poland, Malaysia, Germany, the United States, Japan, Romania, Canada, Australia, and Spain. The U.S. Marine Corps integrated a land-based Naval Strike Missile into its force structure in 2019, sharing costs and enhancing interoperability with the Navy. To facilitate the presence of this fifth-generation missile in the United States, Raytheon Missiles & Defense partnered with the Norwegian defense company Kongsberg Defence Aerospace. Furthermore, ongoing development efforts are underway for the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), an air-launched version of the NSM capable of fulfilling various roles. Notably, the Naval Strike Missile’s ability to adapt to different terrains makes it well-suited for land attack missions as it can navigate varying elevations with ease.