The 2004 defense of Latvia is based on selective military duty with an initial service of twelve months and comprises 4,800 men. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that LVA stands for Latvia. The defense is organized with an infantry brigade, four patrol boats and a semi-military coast guard unit with eight patrol boats. Latvia has no fighter aircraft. The reserves amount to 13,500 men and are organized into four brigades. Latvia aims to militarily protect its own territory and its borders. A cooperation agreement with the other Baltic states was signed in 1996 with the aim of coordinating border surveillance of the countries’ eastern borders. A coherent maritime surveillance system along all the three Baltic states has been established, including Swedish aid. After all, lack of financial resources, voluntary, trained staff and competing societal needs with regard to conscience-related young men limit the growth rate of the defense structure.
Latvia, like other Baltic states, applied for membership in NATO in 1997 and became a member in 2004. Defense costs amounted to 3.5% of GDP in 1996 and had fallen to 1.2% in 2001. Latvia participates in UN peacekeeping efforts, including: by joining Swedish UN unions in the long term to build up their own competence.
Latvia has been a member of NATO since 2004. Norway has contributed to the development of the Latvian defense with material and military instructors. The total force figure for Latvia’s armed forces is 6210 active personnel, with a reserve of 15,900 personnel (2018, IISS)
NATO contributes to the defense through the Enhanced Forward Presence program, which since 2016 has supported defense in the countries of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and to the air defense through the Baltic Air Policing program, where fighter aircraft and crews from rotating NATO countries deployed in Estonia and Lithuania monitor and claiming sovereignty in the airspace over the three Baltic countries. Norway led the mission last from 1 May to 1 September 2015.
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Latvia’s armed forces
The army has a workforce of 1400 active personnel. In addition, the National Guard comes with 600 active personnel and 7750 reservists. Materials include three T-55 type tanks used for training, 81 Scimitar type trucks, 47 M109 self-propelled artillery, as well as medium-heavy artillery.
The air component has a staff strength of 430 active personnel, four light transport aircraft and six helicopters. In addition, the air component has short range air defense missiles and light air artillery.
The marine component has a staff of 480 active personnel, including the coastguard. Materials include five patrol vessels, six mine war vessels, and one aid vessel. One of the mine war vessels is of the Norwegian Vidar class (the former miner Vale, transferred from the Norwegian Navy), which is used as a flagship for the fleet of patrol boats, and can still be used as a minelayer. The Coast Guard has six patrol vessels.
In 2018, Latvia participated in the NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 36 personnel, and in the North Sea (SNMCMG1) with one mine war vessel. In addition, in the UN operation in Mali (MINUSMA) with 17 personnel.
Area: 64,573 km2 (world ranking: 122)
Population density: 30 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 147)
Capital: Riga (Riga)
Official languages: Latvian
Gross domestic product: 26.9 billion euros; Real growth: 4.5%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 14,740 US$
Currency: 1 euro (Euro) = 100 cents
41, 14193 Berlin
Telephone 030 82600222,
Fax 030 82600233
Head of State: Raimonds Vejonis, Head of Government: Maris Kucinskis, Exterior: Edgars Rinkevics
National holiday: 11/18 (Proclamation of the Republic 1918)
110 municipalities and 9 cities
State and form of government
Constitution from 1922 since 1993 again in force
Parliament (Saeima) with 100 members, election every 4 years
Election of the head of state every 4 years by parliament (one-off Reelection) Right to
vote from 18 years of age
Population of: Latvians, last census 2011: 2,070,371 residents
62.1% Latvians, 26.9% Russians, 3.3% Belarusians, 2.2% Ukrainians, 2.2% Poles, 1, 2% Lithuanians including
foreigners 2017: 14.3% (mainly Russians)
Cities (with population): (As of 2018) Riga (Riga) 637,971 inh., Daugavpils (Dünaburg) 83,250, Liepaja (Libau) 69,180, Jelgava (Mitau) 56,383, Jurmala 49,073, Ventspils (Windau) 34,855, Rezekne (Rositten) 28,156, Ogre 23,272, Valmiera 23,063, Jekabpils 22,188, Salaspils 17,715
Religions: 37% Lutherans, 21% Catholics, 19% Orthodox; Minorities of Jews, Muslims and others (status: 2006)
Languages: Latvian; Minority languages: Russian, Byelorussian, Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, German, Estonian, Yiddish, Livish, Romani
Workers by economic sector: Agriculture. 8%, industry 24%, business 68% (2017)
Unemployment (in% of all labor force): 2017: 8.7%
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 2.9%
Foreign trade: Import: 14.9 billion euros (2017); Export: 12.2 billion euros (2017)