Pabriks participates in the first Latvian-American Defence Forum
Today, on 17 September, Defence Minister Artis Pabriks will participate in the first Latvian-American Defence Forum which will take place in Riga and focus on bilateral cooperation between Latvia and the United States of America. During the forum, Minister Pabriks will meet with defence industry companies from the US.
Forum organised by American-Central European Business Association (ACEBA) will bring together American defence industry players and members of the Federation of Security and Defence Industries of Latvia. Both sides will exchange views on how to meet the supply needs of the Latvian Armed Forces and promote defence industry cooperation between Latvian and the US.
Cooperation with the US is one of Latvia’s defence policy bilateral relations’ priorities. US troops have been rotating to Baltics in scope of the military exercise programme ‘Atlantic Resolve’ since 2014, thus demonstrating the continued commitment of the US to collective security of NATO member countries and promoting peace and stability in the Baltic countries and Poland.
In February 2019, Latvia welcomed 150 troops of the 3rd Battalion of the US 1st Combat Aviation Brigade. Troops, who arrived in Latvia with 13 UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in scope of the on-going operation ‘Atlantic Resolve’, will spend their rotation at Lielvārde Air Base of the National Armed Forces.
According to the inter-governmental agreement signed by Latvia and the US last year, Latvia will purchase 4 new UH-60M Black Hawk units. These helicopters are vital not only for various operations of the Latvian Army but will also be used in various civil operations. Delivery of UH-60M Black Hawk to National Armed Forces will further enhance the existing close cooperation with the US armed forces and Michigan National Guard.
Successful cooperation between Latvia and Michigan National Guard began more than 25 years ago. Due to this cooperation, which includes development and testing of airfield capacity to accommodate aircrafts and training of Latvian officers, Latvia has been able to successfully develop its National Armed Force Air Base.
The US has also supported Latvia through various military assistance programmes. National Armed Forces have received crucial military equipment like communication devices, night vision equipment and transport vehicles.