The National Armed Forces will sign an agreement in the near future with the Austrian Defence Ministry for the purchase of M109 series 155mm self-propelled artillery system, which insludes self-propelled howitzers, fire control centre and driver training platform.
It is planned that the expenditure of one unit, dependin on the modification (howitzer, fire control centre or driver training program) will be EUR 60,000 to 140,000.
Overall to improve the indirect fire support capability of the Latvian Armed Forces, as well as to strenghten latvia`s ability to fully integrate in NATO operations and exercises, it is palnned to purchase 47 units of the military equipment. Howitzers, which Latvia plans to buy, from 2003 to 2007, was upgraded and then preserved.
Self-propelled artillery system M109A5Oe type A howitzer, which is earlier A2 and A3 howitzers modernized version with 39 caliber M185 barrel, currently is in the armament of the Austrian Armed Forces. These howitzers Austria bought from the Great Britain in the middle of 90-ies. Their shot distance with the standard or conventional ammunition is 22 kilometers, while the shooting distance with advanced operational ammunition is 30 kilometers. Austrian 155mm self-propelled artillery M109A5Oe system has installed semi-automatic charging system, inertial navigation system, electrical system, artillery fire control system. Its modification provides that the howitzer is able to open fire within a minute of receiving the order to fire, as well as after the fire has completed its task within 30 seconds to leave the fire position. With a well-trained crew howitzers can fire up to 12 projectiles a minute. In addition, his power to protect the platform is equipped with a 12,7mm machine gun.
The fire control center is M109A5Oe is an Austrian modification for the M109 platform with a the standard corps and dismantled gun, thus increasing the interior space. Platform is equipped with tactical artillery calculation with printer, radio stations and an additional 28 V generator. For its force protection, platform is equipped with the 80mm smoke grenade system and 12.7mm machine gun.
Driver training platfroms M109 are designed for conducting practical driving training.
It is planned that the first howitzers will be delivered this Autumn.
As reported before, in November 2016, the public opinion research centre SKDS, carried out an annual public opinion poll commissioned by the Ministry of Defence of Latvia to clarify residents’ views on the developing situation in state defence and to ask their opinion on current defence issues. According to the survey, 45% of respondents believed that it is "better to buy the weapons, which currently Latvia can afford, even if it is not the latest and most advanced in order to ensure that the National Armed Forces would be combat capable" .In turn, fewer respondents – 31% chose the answer "if you can not afford to buy modern armament now, it is better to postpone the future purchase of armaments in general, taking into account that the National Armed Forces, if necessary, will not be able to fully defend Latvia". 24% of respondents did not have ny opinion. Any opinion on the subject were 24% of respondents.