The demand for American weapons in Europe is rising. Still, instead of expensive weapons like jets and tanks, buyers focus on less-sophisticated, less costly weapons like shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones, which have been essential to Ukraine’s war operations.
According to interviews with military officials and business executives and a Reuters review of recent announcements by governments and defense manufacturers, countries close to Russia, like Poland, Finland, and Germany, are negotiating new deals to buy arms and looking to speed up existing contracts. They are also striking deals to build U.S. weapons in Europe and speed up existing arrangements.
About a dozen European military attachés in Washington said in a recent round of interviews with Reuters that basic weaponry and munitions, such as 155-millimeter artillery rounds, air defenses, communications technology, shoulder-fired Javelin missiles, and drones, are in high demand.
The emphasis on cheap, high-volume weapons highlights how the conflict in Ukraine has altered how European cities think strategically about approaching future disputes.
The reality of constant artillery battles and men trapped in muddy trenches has supplanted visions of high-tech warfare more dependent on computers and robots. Both sides of the fight, which has been going on for a year, have used a ton of artillery and missiles.
According to Roman Schweizer, a defense policy analyst at investment bank Cowen & Co., Ukraine’s high deployment rates of “both precision and unguided munitions have shown NATO members that any future war would require significantly bigger supplies than anticipated.”
The attaches claimed that following the weapon’s success in Ukraine, their governments were especially eager to purchase Javelins. The missiles have killed Russian tanks.
Nevertheless, a company representative who declined to identify them said five European nations had expressed interest in purchasing precision-guided 155-millimeter artillery rounds from Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N). The shots have a 20-mile range and are accurate to within 12 feet (4 meters) (32 km).
The five nations’ interest has yet to be disclosed. Three other European countries are already customers of the company.
Expressions of interest are the initial step in a multi-phase procurement procedure that also entails negotiations between the buyer and the weapons contractor and permission from the U.S. government. Until a weapon is delivered, it may take a year or more.
To avoid any delays, a number of the military attachés, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media on behalf of their governments, stated that their nations have been ensuring sure payments to defense contractors have been made on time. According to them, procuring weapons has become their nation’s top domestic policy goal.
On investor calls in the past, U.S. manufacturers of weapons have lamented late payments from customers.