Russia’s war against Ukraine has become an important test for artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, tanks and drones. Just the news of its successful use against one of the strongest armies in the world warrants attention for manufacturers and gives a strong argument when dealing with customers. Armories, whose products survived the war, not only receive orders to supplement the depleted arsenals of Western countries, but thanks to good advertising they gain new markets, expand production and modernize their products faster than competitors, writes the newspaper Ukrainska pravda under the headline “Why it is profitable for Western countries to supply weapons to Ukraine”.
As a concrete example, he mentioned the “historic event” from this May, when the American Patriot anti-missile system shot down the Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile from the sky above Kiev, which was previously claimed to be unable to be intercepted by any air defense. Ukraine’s announcement of the downing of a Russian missile and The Wall Street Journal’s article on how American patriots became heroes of the Ukrainian war became priceless advertising that brought billions of dollars in profits to the manufacturers, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
Until now, it was believed that the supply of weapons to Ukraine depends only on the loyalty of allies and victories at the front, writes Ukrainska Pravda. However, these supplies are also affected by the competition between Western countries and their ambitions to apply themselves on the world arms market, the newspaper believes, citing as an example of commercial success the American HIMARS rocket launchers, which, according to him, changed the rules of the game in the Russo-Ukrainian war. This success also attracted the attention of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which were looking for a weapon capable of deterring the Russian army. Last year, the Baltic states went from being interested to signing contracts worth more than a billion dollars. In the meantime, the popularity of rocket launchers exceeded the borders of Europe and Taiwan expanded its order, Morocco and three countries from the Asia-Pacific region showed interest. And manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon plan to double annual production.
France also wants to take advantage of the growing demand for weapons, which is offering its Caesar howitzers, also crowned with good results on the Ukrainian battlefield. “By the end of the year, Nexter’s factories will operate continuously and produce eight howitzers per month instead of four,” the Ukrainian daily noted. He added that Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, also produced by the American companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, are also enjoying increased demand. “Following their successful use against Russian tanks, Brazil, Albania, Bulgaria and Latvia have ordered them,” the paper said, adding that the manufacturers were planning to produce 4,000 of the missiles a year, twice as many as before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Potential customers are in a hurry, because the capacities of armories are limited, sometimes partially booked for Ukraine or to restore reserves in those countries from which the weapons were sent to Ukraine. According to the paper, the American-Norwegian air defense system NASAMS can serve as an example, which proved highly effective in shooting down Russian missiles and drones. Although the production cycle of these weapons is long, the Taiwanese authorities decided to wait for their turn.
Demand also rose for the Switchblade 300/600 drones, which few had heard of before they proved themselves in battles with the Russians and became an indispensable part of modern warfare. France and Lithuania signed contracts for their purchase last year, writes Ukrainska pravda. He pointed to Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones as another example, whose deployment in Ukraine prompted the manufacturer to improve the interoperability of its drones with artillery, speed up the exchange of information, improve protection against radio-electronic interference, and enable interoperability with drones that hit a target and destroy themselves in the process.
As another example, the paper identified the French-Italian competitor of the American patriots, the SAMP-T system, which had never been tested in combat – before France and Italy provided it to Ukraine this year. Similarly, competition with American fighters could prompt Stockholm to provide Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighters to Ukraine, according to the newspaper. Dozens of countries showed interest in them, but the buyers ultimately preferred the American F-16 or F-35 machines. Unlike American competitors, the Swedish fighter has never been tested in real combat.