Washington approved $28 billion worth of arms deals, with Poland and the Baltic states the biggest buyers
American weapons sales to NATO states nearly doubled in number and value in 2022, Foreign Policy magazine reported on Thursday. With the conflict in Ukraine draining European military stockpiles, the top US arms merchants have all seen their share prices skyrocket.
The US government approved 14 major arms sales to NATO members in 2021, totalling around $15.5 billion, the magazine stated, citing an analysis of Pentagon figures. By the end of 2022, it had approved 24 sales worth roughly $28 billion.
While some of these deals were negotiated years beforehand, Russia’s military operation in Ukraine sent NATO’s European members scrambling to bump up their military spending, and to replenish vehicles, weapons, and ammunition donated to the Ukrainian military.
Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have all ordered HIMARS Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), the same systems the US has given dozens of to Ukraine. Earlier this month, the US State Department authorized the sale of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland, after Warsaw sent its Soviet-era T-72 and domestically-made PT-91 tanks to Kiev’s forces.
Amid the rush to arm Ukraine, European and American arms stockpiles are running low, according to media reports and admissions by top officials. In addition to the arms sold to its allies, the US has also allocated more than $110 billion in military and economic aid to Kiev since February, with approximately $21 billion worth of weapons transported to Ukraine as of December 21.
The unprecedented strain on US stockpiles – Washington had given Kiev a decade’s worth of Javelin missiles by September, for example – has resulted in record profits for the arms industry.
The US’ four largest defense contractors are all ending the year with their stock at or near all-time highs. Lockheed Martin’s share price is currently up 37% from this time last year. Boeing’s stock, which had taken a hammering since the Coronavirus pandemic grounded flights worldwide, has been buoyed by the conflict in Ukraine and now sits roughly where it did a year ago.
Raytheon has seen its share price rise by 17% this year, while General Dynamics has increased in value by 18%.
The success of these companies is so intertwined with the demand for weapons in Ukraine that Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin all sponsored a reception at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, DC earlier this month, causing controversy when they emblazoned their logos on the invitations.