Latvian army: numbers and weapons

Latvian army: numbers and weapons
Latvian army: numbers and weapons

The Latvian army is the guarantor of the independence and security of its state. The armed forces are a combination of various types of troops that ensure the territorial integrity of the country.

Latvian army

History of occurrence

How did the army of Latvia appear. The history of its creation dates back to the nineteenth year of the twentieth century. At that time, the components of the armed forces were four land divisions, which in turn were divided into four more regiments. One third of them were occupied by artillerymen, the rest by infantry. The divisions bore the following names: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale and Zemgale. In addition to the main composition, the Latvian army of 1940 received support from the Technical Division and the Navy. Almost at the beginning of the history of the creation of troops, Senior Lieutenant Alfred Valleiki organized an aviation group.

Armed associations began to form on a voluntary basis. The first similarity of the army of the state consisted of several rifle companies of soldiers - Latvian, German and Russian. But a year after the formation of troops from among those interested, they began to call everyone for service. The officers were led by formerRussian and German military. The commanders were also representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden.

In the first two years after the organization, the army fought against representatives of the Red Army. After this incident, the situation calmed down somewhat, and the armed forces were engaged in peaceful affairs. The pre-war army in Latvia did not use its defensive capabilities against other countries for the next twenty years.

Soviet period

In 1940, the state became one of the Soviet Socialist Republics. Following this, the Latvian armed forces also underwent some changes. They increased the strength of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army in the form of the 24th Latvian Rifle Corps.

Now compulsory military training for eighteen months. After this period, the privates were placed in the reserve. With the advent of Soviet power, the army of Latvia (the number of its composition) reached thirty-one thousand. Of this number, two thousand were officers, twenty-seven thousand were soldiers. The armed forces were also replenished with civilian employees. Their number was equal to a thousand people.

latvia army strength

When the Great Patriotic War began, the republic was presented in the form of two rifle divisions and a separate anti-aircraft artillery battalion. Cadets of the Riga Infantry School also went to the front.

Independence Time

Immediately after receiving the status of an independent state, the government signed a lawwhich defined the concepts of "army of Latvia", "strength" and "armament of its composition." A people's voluntary defense organization was formed, which was called "Zemessardze". Protection of interests, independence and sovereignty has become one of the priorities. Therefore, the authorities were actively engaged in the formation of a combat-ready army.

The state in the nineties actively began to establish international relations. As part of the partnership program with the United States of America, the country participated in all NATO projects.

It was also an innovation that the border troops became a separate unit after their withdrawal from the armed forces. The Latvian army lost this link, which came under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the state.

latvia army history

According to reports from the Customs Service, more than eight million lats worth of weapons were transported across the border between 1995 and 2000. But at the same time, there is one interesting fact - supplies for the state make up only half of this amount. Although, according to documents on foreign economic transactions, various small arms were imported into Latvia.


The Latvian army, although it took part in hostilities, was not very active. There were no direct aggressive threats from other countries, so the government sent its people to participate in various missions.

Latvian military participated in the formation of the ISAF forces, which were introduced into Afghanistan.The state provided its soldiers in 2003. Losses cost four citizens of Latvia.

During the war in Iraq, the Latvian army was sent in the amount of 140 people to the territory of hostilities. Then the government sent more and more batches of people. During the war in Iraq, about a thousand soldiers have been there. Three of them did not return home.

The Latvian army took part in many NATO formations. After the organization decided to send its contingent to stabilize the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the Latvians decided to join them. For nine years, the authorities sent their citizens to fulfill the mission. A total of 437 people fought in Kosovo.

latvia army 1940

Surveillance systems

To better protect the sovereignty of their state, the government issued a decree on the construction of a station with a radar system. It was supposed to be located in the eastern part of the country. The purpose of the station was to monitor the airspace of other B altic countries - Lithuania and Estonia, as well as parts of Russia and Belarus.

A year after the construction of the radar station, another object of observation was launched. The long-range radar began to operate in the Audriņa volost. It is designed to control the B altic countries.

NATO Influence

Thanks to the cooperation and support of the North Atlantic Alliance, the Latvian army is provided with fairly modern weapons. In 2005 the organizationcontributed to the supply of equipment of the appropriate level and power. This was done to ensure that the authorities of the state, on demand, provide their contingent to participate in international missions. And for this, the army must be well armed.

Thanks to well-established foreign economic relations, the country is supplied with:

  • various types of small arms (pistols, machine guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers, sniper rifles);
  • cars (armored and unarmored);
  • means of communication;
  • uniforms (helmets, body armor);
  • support vehicles (trucks, tow trucks, ambulances).

Voluntary formation of the Home Guard

The Latvian army has a rather interesting structure. The strength of its composition, in addition to the main troops, is also made up of voluntary territorial defense forces. They were formed in 1991 and received the name "Zemessardze". This component of the armed forces of the state is quite numerous. She has eighteen battalions on her account.

This formation receives support from the state, but it is voluntary due to the fact that its units have only five thousand professional soldiers. The remaining ten and a half thousand people are people who joined the formation on their own initiative.

Zemessardze is the largest part of the Latvian armed forces. The chief commander says that people help the state by allocating personal time. But many volunteers have othermain place of work. He believes that people are driven by ideology and love for the Motherland. This idea is supported by the rest of the Latvian army. The formation's twenty-fifth anniversary parade took place this year.

latvia army parade

The tasks of the battalions are:

  • fire cleanup;
  • rescue work;
  • public order control;
  • security;
  • protection of the land part of Latvia;
  • participation in international missions.

Formation structure

The administrative bodies of this organization are based in three cities - Riga, Liepaja and Rezekne. Each has its own strategic importance:

  1. The district, located in Riga, is controlled by the headquarters of the first command. He leads five battalions. One of them works for support, the others are infantry. The first provides the army with professional snipers, scouts, doctors and signalmen.
  2. The district, located in Liepaja, is controlled by the headquarters of the second command. He, as well as the Riga district, has four infantry battalions under his command. In addition to them, he manages an artillery battalion and a battalion that is engaged in protecting the territory of the state from weapons of mass destruction.
  3. The district located in Rezekne is controlled by the headquarters of the third command. He manages the infantry, air defense, engineering and student battalions. In the latter, students from different countries serve.

Organizational structure

The Latvian army, numbers and weapons (2015) is quite large for such a small country: 5100 regulars and about 8000 volunteers (as part of the people's militia). A distinctive feature of the armed forces of the state is a simple chain of command. The entire defense system consists of the following units:

  • ground forces;
  • aviation;
  • marine;
  • national guard;
  • command centers.
army of latvia number and armament 2015

In case of martial law, the authorities have the right to transfer all structures belonging to the Ministry of the Interior under the control of the armed forces. Including, these are border detachments and civil defense formations.

Geographically, Latvia is divided into three districts. If earlier military service was compulsory, then, starting in 2007, it is possible to get into the army only on a contract basis. The entire officer corps consists of former cadets of military lyceums.

Prospects for development

The main goal in terms of the long-term development of the country's armed forces is to increase the defense capability in accordance with the requirements of the North Atlantic Alliance. They mean military construction, which should be completed by 2020. The army must be at such a level that it can strengthen its allies in international peacekeeping missions.

Thanks to this project, in 2011 a single headquarters was formed that organizesthe work of its units and is responsible for cooperation with NATO formations. Its tasks are the development of strategic plans, coordination of actions, command of internal troops, staff training.

Five thousand seven hundred people serve in the Latvian armed forces.

Latvian armed forces

Ground Forces

The army of Latvia is based on this type of troops. The photos speak of the powerful training of soldiers and good equipment. The ground forces consist of two units - a motorized infantry brigade and a special forces detachment.

The ground forces are armed with small arms (automatic rifles, pistols, grenade launchers) mainly of American and German production. On the basis of this type of troops, there are several tanks, armored personnel carriers and anti-aircraft artillery guns.

Air Forces

Latvian military aviation can solve a range of tasks independently or accompany and cover ground forces or the navy.

The army's air force unit consists of a squadron, an air defense battalion and an airspace control squadron. The first component includes the aircraft and helicopter bureau and aircraft maintenance. The second component deals with the defeat of targets at close range. It includes three air defense batteries and a support platoon. The third component manages the communication link, security unit, radar stations. At its disposal are not only airplanes and helicopters, but alsoanti-aircraft guns.

In the future, it is planned to carry out a large-scale reconstruction of the infrastructure of air bases, the purchase of radar systems with an increased range.


The task of the fleet is to control the activities of other states, prevent possible threats, create conditions for a safe economic zone, regulate shipping and fishing. At the moment, the main work of the naval forces is to equip the water area, in particular, the clearance of the B altic Sea. The naval forces consist of a flotilla of warships and a coast guard service.

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