Latvia raises defense budget to $1.2 billion by 2026 to counter perceived Russian threat, says GlobalData

Latvia is increasing its defense budget – likely reaching $1.2 billion by 2026 – with the intention of using the extra cash to make acquisitions to deter perceived threats from Russia, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that, while Latvia is one of the few North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries that consistently spends 2% of its GDP on defense, the country is expected to increase this expenditure by a further 6.25% over the next five years.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Latvia’s Defense Market – Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2026’, reveals that Latvia’s acquisition budget is set to reach record levels over the period, reaching a total of $411 million by 2026. The country’s acquisitions plans include Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV).

William Davies, Associate Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Latvia’s decision to procure Black Hawks provides it with increased maneuverability to react to threats on its Eastern border. The country’s acquisition of second-hand combat vehicles reconnaissance (tracked) (CVR(T)) from the UK represents its desire to increase maneuverability within what is a relatively limited budget.”

In addition to Black Hawks and UVGs, the country will be purchasing some new missile defense systems and will increase spending on sensors.

Davies continues: “Latvia’s increased spending on sensors is to increase situational awareness to better support NATO allies, bonds it is always seeking to strengthen. While the country has taken an economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, this will not have a significant effect on defense expenditure – with Latvia expected to continue to make major commitments over the next five years.”

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