Germany to buy US HIMARS launchers for Ukraine

Germany to buy US HIMARS launchers for Ukraine

COLOGNE, Germany — The German government will buy three HIMARS launchers from U.S. military stocks and give them to Ukraine, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in Washington.

The swap essentially follows through on a weapons transfer workaround designed when the fate of a $61 billion bill for military aid to Ukraine was still iffy in Congress. Lawmakers eventually passed the measure in late April following months of uncertainty amid resistance from isolationist Republicans aligned with ex-President Trump.

“The decision of Congress has overtaken us, but we’re sticking with it,” Pistorius told reporters on May 9, referring to the planned purchase that will cost Berlin roughly $30 million, as Der Spiegel reported.

Ukrainian officials have described the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, made by Lockheed Martin, as pivotal in repelling Russia’s initial assault wave in 2022.

Pistorius was on a trip to meet defense leaders in the United States and Canada this week, returning to Germany on Friday.

He came prepared with figures underlining the defense-industrial cooperation between Berlin and Washington, ties that he described as essential beyond the lofty talk of two democracies aligned on values. Germany has 380 contracts with U.S. defense companies, amounting to €23 billion, or $25 billion, Pistorius said.

Big-ticket U.S. weapons ordered by Germany in recent years include Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet, Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon maritime-surveillance aircraft and Chinook transport helicopters, as well as Raytheon’s Patriot air-defense system.

Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.

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