A coalition of European states have jointly ordered up to 1,000 Patriot air defense missiles amid a renewed wave of Russian airstrikes against major Ukrainian cities.
The NATO Support and Procurement Agency is supporting the purchase, which involves Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Romania. The agency awarded a $5.5 billion production and delivery contract for the weapons to COMLOG, a joint venture between MBDA Germany and the American company RTX (formerly known as Raytheon Technologies).
Under the agreement, if all options are exercised, the four nations will procure a joint quantity of up to 1,000 Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles. No delivery timeline was made available.
“The contract strengthens industrial and military capabilities in Europe. The order volume will enable MBDA to set up a production facility for Patriot missiles in Germany as well as major subcomponent production,” Thomas Gottschild, managing director at MBDA Germany, said in a Jan. 3 news release.
Gottschild noted the COMLOG facility is the only one of its kind for Patriot missiles outside the United States, but a NATO statement said COMLOG will expand the production capacity of tactical Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles, or GEM-T, in Europe.
The German-American joint venture has operated for more than three decades, providing logistics support for Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles. Its main customer is the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, which acts on behalf of other European Patriot users and the U.S. Army.
GEM-T is one of the variants offered to international customers. It provides the ability to destroy tactical ballistic missiles and enemy aircraft in complement to the PAC-3 version, according to RTX.
In December, the Romanian Defence Ministry reportedly submitted a request to Parliament to buy 200 PAC-2 GEM-T missiles for its own Patriot launchers. It remains unclear if this purchase is related to the combined multibillion order.
These order comes amid an intensification of aerial attacks carried out by Russian forces against two of Ukraine’s largest cities since the new year.
On Jan. 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow launched 500 missiles and drone strikes against the embattled country over five days.
This escalation has been a major source of concern, with the BBC reporting that Ukraine had not seen strikes of this magnitude since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
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