Spain has deployed a short- to medium-range NASAMS in Latvia

MADRID ($1=0.95 Euros) — The Spanish military has completed the deployment of a battery of Nasams missiles at the Lielvarde Air Base in Latvia. This battery, along with 85 soldiers, forms an air defense unit, known by the acronym UDAA, which will reinforce NATO’s air and missile defense system on the Allies’ eastern flank.

Spain has deployed the short- to medium-range NASAMS in Latvia
Photo credit: Kongsberg

The Spanish Embassy in Latvia released the first images of the battery components and personnel at their new location during a welcoming ceremony. All the material arrived by ship in the port of Riga, the capital of Latvia, at the end of last June and was later transferred by road to Lielvarde in the southern part of the Baltic country.

Nasams system and Amraam missiles

The Nasams system [an acronym in English for the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System], designed by the Kongsberg and Raytheon companies, entered service with the Spanish military in 2003 as part of industrial compensation for the purchase of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates built by Navantia for the Norwegian Navy. The firing platform is composed of six container tubes from which the American AIM 120 Amraam missiles are launched. The system also includes a Sentinel radar to detect and track targets with a range of 75 kilometers.

US sends Norwegian ground 25km-range SAM, AIMs, IRIS-Ts to Ukraine
Photo credit: Kongsberg

The Spanish anti-aircraft artillery has four batteries, each equipped with a radar, fire control center and two launchers mounted on Iveco trucks. The Nasams system has an effective range of between seven and ten kilometers around the target to be protected, although it can reach 25 kilometers. The rate of fire is two seconds. The Amraam missile, on the other hand, is a fire-and-forget type with a weight of 157 kg, a length of 3.65 meters, a diameter of 178 mm, and a wingspan of 533 mm. It reaches a speed of Mach 2 with a semi-active guidance system and a 35 kg warhead.

Russian threat

The deployment of this battery is part of NATO’s measures to strengthen deterrence following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Spain currently has around 600 soldiers in Latvia. The majority of the Spanish contingent is at the Adaji base, integrated into an allied battle group within the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence [EFP].

Spain also reinforced this battalion with a battery of six M109 self-propelled guns and an Arthur radar. The Spanish contingent also has six Leopard tanks, fifteen Pizarro infantry fighting vehicles, and various engineering equipment, such as bulldozers or a Dornier bridge. There are also Tracked Armored Vehicles [TOAs] of the personnel carrier and mortar versions, as well as other vehicles such as the Vamtac with Spike missile launchers.

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