Latvia’s "riflemen" now equipped for the 21st century
Latvian riflemens now equipped for the 21st century

Photo by Miks Latvis

Following World War I Latvia’s famed ‘Riflemen’ divisions played a prominent role in winning Latvia’s independence. Today, Latvia’s soldiers are earning praise for their professionalism in Afghanistan and Iraq. To make them even better equipped to perform their duties in various peace-keeping operations, Latvia’s servicemen are now being supplied with modern new rifles. The G36 will replace the AK-4’s which had been standard issue until now.

The very first new G36 rifle was presented to the next commander of the Latvian contingent in Iraq by the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Atis Slakteris The first to use the new weaponry will be Latvian units within the NATO Response Force, as well as units going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The weapons replacement program is part of the Standard riflemen weapons’ concept which was adopted by the National Armed Forces last year. For the National Armed Forces this modernization means better planning and cooperation with other NATO countries in international operations. The new weapons standards are compatible with those of other NATO countries. In effect, Latvia’s ‘riflemen’ will have the same type of arms that are standard in US, German and French armed forces. The replacement process is planned to be completed by 2014.


Martins Duhms

"As NATO nations debate and define their future goals, let it be freedom, democracy and good will toward all. Latvia since regaining its freedom 15 years ago, has itself achieved all those goals.  The Latvian-American community is gratified that this NATO summit will be held in Riga, Latvia."

- Martins Duhms,
President and Chairman of the Board
American Latvian Association