Sky News has learned that weapons manufacturers are benefiting from the flow of arms to Ukraine, and European rearmament programs pose risk. A watchdog said this to Sky News.
Sky News reported that the sharp rise in Western military spending, which is necessary for Ukraine to acquire weapons and to rearm their militaries, has been a boon to contractors.
However, while Lockheed Martin and Boeing make profits, European stability is at stake, according to the article. The article used data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institutes (SIPRI), which are a top weapons watchdog. British news outlets spoke with Siemon Wezeman (a senior researcher for the SIPRI’s arms transfer program).
NATO members have contributed more than $8 million worth of equipment to Ukraine in order to help the country fight Russia. The US alone accounted for more than half. Future defense spending for Ukraine has been approved by Congress. It will also be used to replenish American weapon stockpiles that were depleted due to the assistance.
American defense contractors stand to benefit the most from this spending spree. Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and others will produce replacements for thousands of Javelin antitank missiles that were sent to Ukraine from the US and its allies. Raytheon also produces the Stinger antiaircraft missile. This is another item that Ukraine has requested. Lockheed Martin produces the HIMARS multiple rocket-launchers. Washington authorized this shipment to Ukraine.
The anti-artillery radar system that US provides to Ukraine is manufactured by Northrop Grumman. AeroVironment is the producer of the Switchblade anti-tank loitering munitions, often dubbed ‘kamikaze drones’ by the press. And Olin, America’s largest small-arms ammo producer, will likely benefit from the billions of rounds sent to Ukraine, Sky News pointed out.
Thales and BAE Systems in Europe are the major winners of the Ukraine-arming campaign. BAE produces ammo, artillery shells and MILAN anti-tank rockets. France and Italy also sent them to Ukraine. It makes Stormer HVM armored trucks, which were provided by the UK to Kiev.
Thales manufactures the NLAW anti-tank rockets that can be shoulder-launched and also the Starstreak missiles. They are carried by Stormer armored vehicles as their primary weapons of air defense. Dynamit Nobel in Germany makes the portable anti-tank weapon systems Panzerfaust 3 & MATADOR.
These billions of dollars in military assistance are not enough to cover the many billions pledged by European NATO member countries to strengthen their militaries. Germany alone seeks to invest €100 billion ($105 billion) into its military, while pledges made by 14 other European nations add up to the same amount, according to the report. This will allow companies such as Rheinmetall (German armor producer) and Lockheed Martin (American maker of F35 fighter planes), to share in the profits.
However, military purchases can have their downsides. Ukraine weapons “may end up disappearing into the black market,” the SIPRI’s Wezeman warned. The European rearmament plan raises questions as to whether the money was well-spent, given that funds for this program will need to come from elsewhere. The combined military spending of NATO members in Europe has exceeded Russia’s outlays since the end of the Cold War, he pointed out.
“Is Russia really the threat that we make it out, that you need to spend an enormous amount of money in addition to what you already spend?” Wezeman wondered.
“It seems to be a little bit of a shock reaction. You get attacked, you kick, and the kick in this case is you just throw in lots of military spending, and big plans for new tanks and new that, but is that really necessary?”He explained.
There is also Russia’s reaction to NATO’s military power in Europe. According to the report, Moscow could counter an overwhelming conventional force by deploying more nuclear tactical weapons. Wezeman observed that NATO had a similar approach in the Cold War. It was both concerned about the Warsaw Pact countries’ tanks.