Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF) Commander Leonids Kalniņš unveiled an updated national defense concept, indicating the country’s intent to procure new infantry fighting vehicles for adversary neutralization by 2028.
The concept emphasizes the need for NAF to enhance capabilities by increasing firepower and operational range, curbing adversary freedom in the air, sea, and land. Simultaneously, NAF is set to bolster air defense, coastal protection, long-range missile artillery, and unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities while integrating infantry combat platforms.
Commander Kalniņš highlighted that the infantry fighting vehicles would constitute a new platform with at least Level III protection, essential for engaging in tactical operations and neutralizing adversaries on the front lines.
“We are progressing towards this goal, and by 2028, the physical presence of such a platform in Latvia will undoubtedly be known. We have chosen a specific type of vehicle, but there are procurement processes ahead. We cannot delve into specifics until the procurement and tender process concludes,” stated the NAF Commander.
Predicted candidates for the infantry fighting vehicles include the Turkish Otokar Tulpar, Spanish GDELS ASCOD 2, and South Korean Hanwha K21. These modern platforms are among the potential options under consideration for Latvia’s strategic defense upgrade, with each vehicle offering distinct features and capabilities. The final selection will hinge upon rigorous evaluations and considerations aligning with Latvia’s defense requirements and future operational needs.
Infantry fighting vehicles are imperative to modernize the Mechanized Infantry Brigade and eventually replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance tracked (CVR(T)) armored vehicles, previously procured from the United Kingdom by the National Armed Forces. It was reported by LETA that the first vehicles were delivered in the autumn of 2015.