Russian invasion spurs European demand for U.S. drones, missiles

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European governments have approached the U.S. government and defense contractors with a shopping list of arms including drones, missiles and missile defenses as the Russian invasion of Ukraine drives renewed demand for U.S. weaponry.

Germany, which is nearing a deal for 35 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jet fighters, has inquired about systems to defend against ballistic missiles, sources familiar with the situation said. 

Meanwhile, Poland urgently wants to purchase sophisticated Reaper drone systems from the United States, a Polish government official said this week. 

Requests are also coming in from other countries in Eastern Europe, where allies are keen to acquire weaponry that Ukraine has successfully used against Russian forces, two people familiar with the demand said, including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles and anti-tank Javelin missiles.

The inquiries come as countries in Europe boost defense budgets to meet an increasingly uncertain security outlook, with Germany, Sweden, and Denmark among those promising a sharp increase in spending.

European allies are “doubling down” on their defense spending, Mara Karlin, a Pentagon assistant secretary of defense, said last week after a congressional hearing where she spoke of “Russian aggression that threatens the territorial integrity of Europe.”

Since the sale of arms by U.S. contractors to foreign governments requires U.S. approval, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Administration is having weekly meetings of its European Crisis Management Team to review specific requests related to the current situation in Ukraine, a source said.

To speed up U.S. government approval for sales and transfers of arms produced by American defense contractors, the Pentagon has re-established a team to respond to the increased demand.

BY REUTERS

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