Latvia To Install American Radar To Monitor Air Space Of Russia And Belarus

An American radar will be installed in Latvia to monitor the air space of Russia and Belarus. On Thursday, the Latvian Defense Ministry confirmed procurement of a 3D three-dimensional radar from the US "Lockheed Martin" concern for USD 8 million. This is the Latvian government's largest purchase for the 10 years of the country's independence. According to the Defense Ministry, the radar's design include latest scientific achievements. Its detection range is 450 km. The radar is expected to be installed within 20 months, till the summer of 2003, in the Kucini village near the Rezekne city at the Russian-Latvian border. Thus the radar's range will cover part of the air space of Russia and Belarus. NATO will also be receiving information about the neighbouring states' air space as the North Atlantic Alliance is already connected to BALTNET, a unified system of control over the air space of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. 3D is the first of the three radars which will be installed in the territory of Latvia in the next four years. Construction of the radar will be started on the eve of the NATO summit in Prague scheduled for the fall, next year where the future expansion of the Alliance will be considered, including the three Baltic republics' membership in NATO.