Riga, Latvia. With another round of Latvian propaganda designed to scare local native Latvians into believing Russia is about to invade daily, the need for western arms again becomes the sweetest sound to NATO nation arms producers back in Belgium, home of the guns Latvia needs to stop imaginary little green men.
The Ministry of Defense of Latvia is spending more than 5.5 million euros on the purchase of machine guns and relared accessories to prepare for a future invasion by Russian military forces, according to Defense department spokesperson Innars Livmannis.
The weapons were procured through negotiations rather than holding an open bid call, which raised concerns about transparency and possible corruption in the acquisition process. The machine guns will be used by the regular troops of the National Armed Forces and the units of the Zemessardze, the Latvian National Guard composed of teen agers and elderly reservists to back up NATO forces during an expected Russian invasion.
The weapons are caliber 7.62- and 12.7-millimeter machine guns and the accessories for their maintenance will be supplied by the Belgian arms company FN Herstal.
For security purposes, the Ministry of Defense will not disclose the exact number of purchased firearms, but at about $1500 a weapon, experts believe the order is for roughly 4-5 batallions, or 5000 guns roughly.
At the end of 2014, FN Herstal again scored a no bid contract for the supply of machine guns to the Latvian army. The Ministry of Defense back then purchased 12.7 mm Browning M2HB-QCB machine guns for 1.8 million euros.