New US special operations center has been established in Latvia
RIGA, (BM) – According to USSOCOM, a new special operations center has been established in the Latvian capital Riga, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. This project has received funding from the Pentagon of USD 3.7 million and is implementing as part of the European Deterrence Initiative, whose primary goal is to secure NATO’s eastern flank.
The strategic location of this center in the very center of the Baltic states and the mere fact of its creation will allow for a significant expansion of the operational capabilities of the American special forces in this region. The new headquarters of American specialists in Latvia includes, among others, a military vehicle service point, weapons and ammunition warehouse, and two helipads, which can also be used by the V-22 Osprey multi-purpose powered lift from the 352th Special Operations Wing from Great Britain.
“This project, along with other major European defense initiatives, represents our continued commitment to our friend and ally Latvia,” a spokesman for the Special Operations Command-Europe Lt. Col. Juan Martinez.
The center officially opened last week at a ceremony attended by US diplomats and Latvian military commanders. The main goal of this center is to enable US special forces to quickly enter and exit the area of operations and conduct ongoing maintenance and supply works.
Subsequently, it plans to build a facility that will increase the number of personnel and military equipment transferred to the Baltic States for exercises or in response to a crisis. In July this year, the program for the modernization of the Estonian Amari airbase was completed, which cost USD 10.8 million. The investment increased US and Allied air forces’ operational capability from the northernmost airbase in the region.
Latvia integrated new air voice communication systems
As we reported last year in August at the National Armed Forces Aviation Base, the Latvian Air Force received a new voice communication system. The handover of the new system was completed during a meeting between the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the NATO Communication Information [NCI] Agency.
“With the support of the new system, the Air Force will be able to accomplish its tasks more effectively while strengthening regional safety. I’m pleased to acknowledge that through our cooperation with the NCI Agency the implementation of the new Voice Communication System at our National Armed Forces Aviation Base was a great success,” stressed Defence Minister Artis Pabriks.
The new system, which is part of the Air Command and Control System [ACCS] has been a work in progress since December 11th, 2014 when Latvia agreed to the system by signing a memorandum of understanding with the NCI Agency and joining Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia also participating in the program.
Implementation of the system began in 2016 through the signing of a contract between the NCI Agency and Industry Consortium providing the voice communication equipment. The two companies involved were CS Communication & Systems from France and the Norwegian company, Thales Norway. The total cost to implement the new system was 4.3 million euros. The first 3.1 million euros came from the NATO Security Investment Program with the remaining 1.2 million euros coming from the national budget.
This system is the second project implemented at the National Armed Forces Aviation Base that has been co-financed under the NATO Security Investment Program. The first project which started in 2009 and was completed in 2013 included the building of the airfield in accordance with national and NATO standards. This included creating a multifunctional military base to support NATO missions and aircraft, fulfilling state defense responsibilities.
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