European countries team up to buy Patriot missiles in $5.5 billion deal

MILAN — A coalition of European nations has jointly ordered up to 1,000 Patriot air defense missiles amid a renewed surge Russian airstrikes against major Ukrainian cities.

NATO’s Support and Procurement Service supports the market, which includes 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 Germany’s MBDA and the US 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 schedule was made available.

“The contract strengthens industrial and military capabilities in Europe. The order volume will enable MBDA to establish a Patriot missile production facility in Germany as well as production of important sub-components,” said Thomas Gottschild, CEO of MBDA Germany, in a Jan. 3 press release.

Gottschild noted that the COMLOG facility is the only one of its kind for Patriot missiles outside the United States, but NATO statement said COMLOG will expand production capacity for tactical Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles, or GEM-T, in Europe.

The German-American joint venture has been operating for more than three decades, providing logistical support for the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missiles. Its main customer is the NATO Support and Supply Agency, which acts on behalf of other European Patriot users and the US Army.

The GEM-T is one of the variants offered to international customers. It provides the ability to destroy tactical ballistic missiles and enemy aircraft as a complement to the PAC-3 version, according to RTX.

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In December, the Romanian Defense Ministry reportedly submitted a request to Parliament to purchase 200 PAC-2 GEM-T missiles for its own Patriot launchers. It remains unclear whether this purchase is related to the combined multi-billion order.

The order comes amid an intensification of airstrikes by Russian forces against two of Ukraine’s largest cities since the new year.

On January 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow had launched 500 missiles and drone strikes against the war-torn country over five days.

This escalation was a major source of concern, with the BBC report that the Ukraine it had not seen strikes of this magnitude since the beginning of Russia’s large-scale invasion in February 2022.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is Defense News’ Europe correspondent. It covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in aviation reporting. Its headquarters are in Milan, Italy.

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