Georgia-US Defense Cooperation Continues

Acting Defense Minister Levan Izoria announced to parliamentarians today that Georgia will soon receive an order of FIM-92 Stingers from the United States. The Stinger missile is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) with infrared homing capabilities. It operates primarily as a surface-to-air missile (SAM), but can be adapted to fire from a wide variety of ground vehicles and helicopters. 30 countries’ militaries use Stingers, including the United States. The date of the Stingers’ delivery has not yet been announced.

Izoria said that, alongside the anti-tank Javelin missiles delivered from the United States in January, the new systems will significantly empower the country’s self-defense capabilities. The Javelin missile order was publicly announced in November 2017 for an estimated USD 75 million.

“Such support from the United States indicates that we have the right defense policy,” Izoria said in a speech to lawmakers. “20 percent of the Defense Ministry budget is being spent on armament, which is one of the key standards of NATO,” Izoria added, noting that Georgia’s defense budget is 2 percent of the country’s GDP – also a NATO standard. The Ministry of Defense has a long-term plan, 2019-2025, for weaponry procurement.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the State Department of the United States donated two Toyota LC-78 trucks to support Georgia’s Canine Drug Interdiction Program. The program is run by the Ministry of Internal Affairs Patrol Police.

The US Embassy in Georgia released a statement saying that the “specially outfitted vehicles will be deployed to the airports in Kutaisi and Batumi to safely transport drug interdiction canines to/from the airports and other locations.” The vehicles can also be used by Georgia’s Patrol Police in emergency situations, operating on rough terrain or through floods.


By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: Raytheon

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