May 30, 2024

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US exports huge number of weapons, but 'Europe can do without US planes'

US exports huge number of weapons, but 'Europe can do without US planes'

InternationalMar 12 '24 at 08:09Modified Mar 13 '24 at 4:21 PMAuthor of the book: Mirth Koopman

The US is exporting more weapons than ever before, and the war in Ukraine has doubled arms imports to Europe in the past four years. That's the conclusion of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), based on new research. Peter Wessmann, a senior researcher at SIPRI, sees Europe importing more weapons from the US, but believes Europe can also rely on its own arms industry.

US exports huge number of weapons, but 'Europe can do without US planes'

However, the dependence on the US is now looming large. That's partly true, Wessmann says, but not because Europe can't produce weapons. “European countries have opted for US alternatives to a certain type of weaponry, particularly fighter jets like the F35.”

F35 fighter jet. The US is exporting more weapons than ever, and the war in Ukraine has doubled arms imports to Europe in the past four years. That's the conclusion of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), based on new research. (ANP/Alamy Limited)

According to the researchers, this choice was made on technical grounds, on the one hand, because American products are of good quality. On the other hand, it is a political choice because in this way relations with the United States are kept strong. “We don't want to do without America,” says Wessman.

European arms production

But what if America wants to disengage from Europe? Funding for the war in Ukraine is at an all-time low, and Donald Trump is likely to be re-elected as US president in November. So Wessman thinks it's also wise to maintain good relations with American politics and the military.

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'Not that there is no European arms production'

Peter Wessman, researcher

If Europe really wants to stand on its own two feet when it comes to arms production, it's possible, says the researcher. 'It is not that there is no European arms production, European countries produce submarines, tanks, radars, etc. The European arms industry sells those products elsewhere in the world. There are also fighter jets that European nations don't want themselves now because there is a better alternative. But we can do without American aircraft,” argues Wessman.

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