Latvia plans to invest the average of €50 million a year in the development of military infrastructure over the next four years
As Ministry of Defence continues to upgrade the overall infrastructure of the National Armed Forces (NAF), planned annual military infrastructure development investments for 2019-2022 will be in the range of €50 million.
“Defence infrastructure development is crucial for enhanced national defence capabilities and building of adequate combat capabilities of the National Armed Forces of Latvia. Continuous investments into the infrastructure, on a regular basis, would strengthen our host nation support to our allies. It would also create the best operational environment for our army and the National Guard, enabling them to perform at the highest military standards,” underlined Defence Minister Artis Pabriks.
Most of the funding, the same as last year, will be invested in the Camp Ādaži over the next years, including further construction of barracks and warehouses, fire station upgrading, military vehicle parking and maintenance facilities. The security of the camp will also be upgraded through new perimeter fencing.
Personnel stationed in Ādaži military base will also benefit from improved facilities, such as the new multifunctional sports complex, where allied and Latvian troops will be able to maintain and develop physical readiness.
In July 2018, during the NATO Summit in Brussels, leaders agreed to establish Multinational Division North headquarters in Camp Ādaži. To strengthen the NATO collective defence and demonstrate Alliance's support for strengthening of Europe's defence, construction of infrastructure for headquarters will begin in 2019. Along with construction of the new Multinational Division North headquarters, some of the existing facilities will be temporarily converted for the needs of HQ.
Infrastructure of NAF air base will also be developed to enhance the support of Latvia as the host nation, including new open-type barracks, reconstruction of service vehicle parking and construction of Phase 1 of terminal building project. Further development of airfield, including certification and construction of new infrastructure, is linked with the expansion of National Armed Force air base. NAF will have to acquire the land crucial for further development of the airfield. Some of it will be transferred by Ministry of Agriculture and Ķegums municipality, while some privately-owned land will have to be expropriated.
Infrastructure of battalion-level National Guard (NG) bases will continue developing as new battalions will be added on top of the expansion of existing battalion infrastructure. In 2018, Ministry of Defence approved development plans of four NG battalions (Jelgava, Jēkabpils, Gulbene and Daugavpils). Battalion infrastructure technical designing will be tendered in 2019.
In the beginning of 2019, Ministry of Agriculture transferred one of its properties, Jaunlāčusils, for the development of Lāčusils regional military base. Additional land will increase the area of Lāčusils military training area by 2 387 hectares. Shooting range will be reconstructed in 2019. Additional training facilities will also be built in the coming years. Meža Mackeviči regional training area will also be expanded when the total area of 2 040 hectares will be transferred from Ministry of Agriculture later this year. This will be another much-needed training facility for Latvian and allied soldiers. Expansion of Mežaine training area near Skrunda has also begun - several properties have been acquired from the Ministry of Agriculture to create urban training and exercise environment for troops and NG soldiers.
Construction of regional ammunition storages in the coming years will allow to stock more ammunition, ensuring the required combat readiness of armed forces and capacity to respond to possible future crises. Several regional equipment storages will also be built to optimise, streamline and standardise equipment distribution and storing. It will also improve NAF resource management framework.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has allocated funding for further energy efficiency projects. Ministry of Defence is looking forward to using the available €1.8 million ERDF co-financing to install proper heat insulation in five ministry-owned buildings in Riga, Alūksne and Jēkabpils over the coming years. Retrofitting will generate significant energy savings and cut down the management costs.
Both NATO and Latvia's strategic partner, USA, are strongly contributing to the development of Latvia's military infrastructure. NATO and the US funding is invested in infrastructure, which enhances and strengthens Latvia's host nation support.
The total amount of defence infrastructure funding reached €37.7 million in 2018. Funding was used to construct essential infrastructure for the National Armed Forces. Large part of available funding was invested in Camp Ādaži, almost two thirds of the total funding earmarked for national defence infrastructure development landed in Ādaži.
First multifunctional barracks of Ādaži base were completed in 2018. Building of special tent area last year was another living condition improvement appreciated by the Latvian and allied soldiers.
Container area for NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle group Latvia (eFP BG Latvia) was also completed last year. Allied forces use it for command and control office containers. Reconstruction of Camp Ādaži garage service area was also implemented in 2018. Garage is now suitable for parking and maintenance of NAF and allied armoured military vehicles. Parking built by the Ādaži base entrance is intended for personal vehicles of soldiers and visitors.
In 2018, Ministry of Defence continued developing National Guard base infrastructure both on the property owned by the ministry and land acquired from other government or local bodies. For instance, an 11-hectare property formerly owned by the Dobele municipality, Apguldes skola, will be developed. Another example is the estate acquired from the Ministry of Health. It is a 8,76 hectare property on Linezera Street in Riga. To support the strengthening of region's security, Ministry of Education handed over a 24-hectare property previously occupied by Lūznava Vocational School. A full functioning NAF military base should become operation in the next years.