Latvian Defence Ministry plans the largest tendering process in country’s history
This summer, Latvian Defence Ministry plans to announce the largest tendering procedure in the history of Latvia’s army. It is planned to procure heavy vehicles to transport armoured vehicles and troops. The total amount for the next ten years may reach EUR 200 million, as reported by Nekā personīga.
It is planned to order vehicles from US manufacturer AM General, which also manufactures Hummer. The company and ministry previously had a verbal agreement. However, Latvia’s position has changed just recently. It is now planned to organize an open tendering process with a requirement to entrust part of the manufacturing process to Latvia, the programme reports. Transports used by Latvia’s army are outdated. They were gifted in the ‘90s, when assistance was being provided by Sweden and other neighbouring countries. Lithuania and Estonia have both procured light transportation vehicles for their armed forces in recent years. Latvia is behind its neighbours in this regard. Information reported by the programme states that the Saeima’s Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee discussed this problem at multiple previous meeting. The previous governments are usually blamed for failures. For example, when the People’s Party was in charge of the Defence Ministry, there had been plans to procure horses.
Ainars Latkovskis, head of the defence committee, told the programme: «Investments were not invested at the time. We built sports halls and did many other things. But we did not build them in Adazi or Aluksne. I believe those finances were misused. This is why, in terms of combat capabilities, ours and Estonia’s positions are very different. It is a gap that requires crossing.» HAMVI army unit and vehicle transports are manufactured by American factory AM General. They also manufacture civilian Hummer models.
This year, the US government gifted 44 HAMVI vehicles to Bosnia and Herzegovina. An agreement was signed last August for the procurement of 1,600 cars for the Afghan army and police force. The total value of the agreement is USD 356.
It can be concluded that a single unit is procured by the US government for approximately USD 213,000, as noted by Nekā personīga.
Representatives of AM General and the US embassy have been keeping up talks with Latvian Defence Ministry for the procurement of HAMVI vehicles. Agreements were reached in regards to prices. Defence Ministry then dropped talks to organize the tendering process, according to the programme’s information.
This tendering procedure is so important for Americans that the US ambassador has met with Saeima’s chairperson of the National Defence Committee Solvita Aboltina, other Saeima members and even Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis. There are also plans for a visit of the governor of Michigan to Latvia.
Commanders of Latvia’s army had met with the governor of Michigan multiple times in the past. Latvia’s army and Michigan National Guard have 20 years of experience in cooperation. This will be the first time when the American official will visit Riga.
But Latvia’s Defence Minister does not know if a meeting is planned with Michigan’s governor. The American official has not booked a visit, Bergmanis told the programme. In his interview with Nekā personīga, Bergmanis commented: «Will the governor and senators talks about the tendering process when they arrive in summer? It is hard for me to say. I do not have their agenda and I cannot comment… But I do understand they will meet with us as long as their visit is a planned one. I cannot tell you anything because I have no information… I only know that those people plan to arrive in Latvia. But I have no exact dates.» Bergmanis has decided to organize a tendering process to procure vehicles. South African company that manufactures Mbombe armoured cars has already expressed interest, as has Swiss MOVAG manufacturer.
Bergmanis has a visit planned in Lithuania this week. There he will be presented with the capabilities of Swiss armoured vehicles. Bergmanis told the programme that he wants to secure the widest possible range of contenders. This is not the only thing that surprised Americans. There will also be a requirement for repairs and partial production to be carried out in Latvia.