By John LaForge
The only winners in the war in Ukraine are weapons manufacturers. This is according to William Hartung and Julia Gledhill for the Quincy Institute in April, Paula Reisdorf writing for CorpWatch in May, Shlomo Ben-Ami for Project Syndicate in September, and Jeremy Scahill for the Intercept in December. The numbers prove it.
Between February and April this year, Hartung and Gledhill note, the US committed to giving approximately $2.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine, bringing the Biden administration spending to more than $3.2 billion and rising, according to Pentagon reports (“How Pentagon Contractors Are Cashing in on the Ukraine Crisis”).
“Weapons companies were already receiving a massive amount of money from the US government before the war in Ukraine began — some $768 billion in 2021. In [May], the US Congress approved a $40 billion spending package for the Ukraine war, with a big chunk going to arms companies,” Reisdorf wrote (“Weapons Makers Profit Handsomely off Ukraine War”). That chunk amounted to $10 billion, with the lion’s share going to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman, according to Scahill’s piece, “The War Caucus Always Wins.”
BAE Corp. makes the M-777 howitzer. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon make Javelin anti-tank missiles; Raytheon makes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. Northrop Grumman produces the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft which is making surveillance flights over Ukraine.
Scahill reports that some of the latest contracts include: $1.2 billion to Raytheon to produce six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems in support of the efforts in Ukraine; $431 million for Lockheed to produce M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers to replenish those sent to Kyiv; and a separate $521 million for Lockheed to replace Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems going to Ukraine.
Reisdorf reports that by May Northrop Grumman’s stocks were up by about 16 percent, and shares of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies had increased by 28 and 20 percent respectively by March.
The Wall St. Journal updated the profiteering news November 24, noting that Lockheed shares are up 36 percent since the start of the year, General Dynamics’ are up 22 percent, and Raytheon jumped 12 percent.
Kristen Bayes, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade in London told Sky News the transfer of weapons to Ukraine is “not problem-free,” and warned, “You might think you’re handing over weapons to people you know and like, but then they get sold on to people you don’t.” Even US Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin, has “acknowledged that some weapons given to Ukraine have also been ending up in the hands of Russians,” Bayes said.