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US weapons manufacturers profiting from Ukraine war: Report

Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire at Russian positions from a US-supplied M777 howitzer in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 14, 2022.  (AP photo)

US weapons manufacturers are profiting from the Ukraine war with Russia, with massive increases in procurement orders for US weaponry being earmarked for Ukraine's military, according to a report

US military officials said that the Pentagon was getting more requests for weapons, including the high-tech, multiple-launch rocket system that Ukrainian forces have successfully used against Russian ammunition depots and other supplies, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.

The officials said on Friday US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William A. LaPlante told reporters that the Pentagon has been working with the defense industry to increase production lines to meet both American and international demands for certain weapons.

LaPlante said some countries have placed buying orders for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, (HIMARS).

He added that the US has to both replace the HIMARS systems it sent to Ukraine and predicted the future demands in foreign sales.

The Pentagon said it is already working to replace about $7 billion in weapons and equipment that was taken off the shelves so it could be delivered quickly to Ukraine. About $1.2 billion of that has already been contracted, and roughly half of that was for Stinger missiles.

Congress provided a total of $12.5 billion for such replacements so far this year, as well as another $6 billion to buy weapons and equipment directly from industry to send to Ukraine, according to the AP report.

Some of the funds will be spent to invest in the defense industrial base so that companies can either expand or speed up their production.

“We remain committed to getting things on contract as quickly as possible, ultimately to send a clear and persistent demand signal to our partners in industry,” said LaPlante. As an example, he said, right now industry is producing about 14,400 rounds of ammunition for the Howitzer artillery gun every month, but the plan is to work up to 36,000 a month in about three years.

A senior Pentagon official revealed last month that the US military had quietly been supplying the Ukrainian forces with High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) for some time to target Russian radar systems, Politico reported.

“When we first announced the initial provision of HARM missiles, the way that we characterized it in the announcement was not specific. We described that we were providing a counter-radar capability,” the official was quoted as saying.

Ukraine is using HARM missiles to take out Russian weapons systems, according to a report published last month by The Hill.

The Pentagon has supplied large amounts of weaponry and ammunition to Ukraine. The US military has also confirmed the delivery of American anti-radar missiles to Ukraine in a bid to facilitate the targeting of Russian radar systems by Ukrainian warplanes.

US Defense Department's Undersecretary for Policy Colin Kahl declared at a press briefing last month that Pentagon had shipped "a number" of the missiles to Ukraine without elaborating on how many and when they had been sent.

Citing a military official, however, CNN identified the type of the missile sent as "the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM)," marking the first time the Pentagon has acknowledged sending the previously undisclosed missile to Ukraine.

Kahl said the missiles have been included in several recent lethal aid packages from the United States and make existing Ukrainian capabilities more effective.

The US has committed to sending Ukraine a total of $9.1 billion in military assistance since the outset of Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February.


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