NATO to help members buy Patriot missiles
NATO has announced plans to help Germany and several other member nations purchase as many as 1,000 Patriot missiles to bolster European air defenses as Russia ramps up airstrikes against Ukrainian cities.
The Western military bloc’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) revealed the new agreement on Wednesday, saying it would support missile purchases by a coalition that includes Germany, Romania, the Netherlands and Spain. The deal will trigger increased European production of US-designed Patriot missiles, helping NATO members replenish their arsenals as they continue to donate weaponry to Ukraine, the agency said.
“This investment shows the strength of transatlantic defense cooperation and NATO’s commitment to keeping our people safe,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian civilians, cities and towns show how important modern air defenses are. Scaling-up ammunition production is key for Ukraine’s security, and for ours.”
The NATO-backed coalition awarded a $5.5 billion contract to COMLOG, a joint venture between US defense contractor Raytheon and Germany’s MBDA, to build the new missiles. The large scale of the consolidated order will underpin the creation of a new Patriot production line in Germany, NSPA said.
NATO offered no specifics on the timeline for building the new production facility or delivering the new missiles. MBDA said the deal will total 1,000 missiles if members of the coalition exercise all of their purchase options.
“The order strengthens industrial and military capabilities in Europe,” MBDA managing director Thomas Gottschild said in a statement. “The order volume enables MBDA to set up a production line for Patriot missiles in Germany and to manufacture important subcomponents.”
Russia launched missile and drone strikes in recent days targeting military-industrial targets in the Kiev area and other cities. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Moscow’s airstrikes would be accelerated in retaliation for Ukraine’s attack on the Russian city of Belgorod. However, he noted, unlike Kiev’s “terrorist” attack against civilians, Russian strikes will target Ukrainian military assets and infrastructure.
Ukraine has requested more Patriot missiles, despite the inability of the US air defense system to shoot down Russia’s Kh-22 and Kh-32 supersonic cruise missiles. Kiev has used its Patriot systems, provided by Western backers, to strike targets in Russian territory, contrary to its pledge to deploy them only for its defenses within Ukraine.
Russian officials have repeatedly warned that shipments of Western weaponry will only prolong the fighting in Ukraine and lead to more casualties without altering the outcome of the conflict.