Washington/Bern: Sighting threats of Russian aggression, the United States seems to have increased arms supply to the European countries. Recently, the United States approved the supply of the ‘Patriot’, anti-ballistic missile system to Sweden. Agreements have been signed prior to this with Poland and Romania, for supply of the Patriot missile system. Sources claim that an agreement for supply of advanced missiles to Finland, has also been signed.
A few days ago, it has been revealed that Russia has permanently deployed the nuclear capable ‘Iskander missiles’ in the Kaliningrad region. Travelling at hypersonic speeds of Mach 6, the Iskander has a range of up to 400 to 500 kilometres. The leaders of the Baltic countries have warned that half of Europe has come within the range of these missiles. In view of this, the United States has accelerated the supply of advanced missile systems and other defence equipment in Europe.
The approval by its Department of State to supply arms to Sweden and Finland are considered to be a part of the same strategy. Finland will be supplied with ‘Sea Sparrow’ and ‘Harpoon’ missiles. This agreement is said to be worth $730 million. This is the first time Finland has purchased missiles for its navy from the United States.
Following Finland, the US Department of State has sanctioned supply of ‘Patriot’ missile system to Sweden. Accordingly, Sweden will be supplied four ‘Patriot Air and Missile Defence Systems’. This agreement is worth $3.2 billion and includes radars, control stations and launching stations in addition to 300 missiles. This system can easily destroy small to medium range ‘Ballistic Missiles’ and ‘Drones’.
In spite of Finland and Sweden not being members of NATO, the United States has taken the decision of supplying arms on this large a scale. The US sources and the analysts claim that this decision has been taken due to increasing Russian missile deployment, aggressive movements of the warships and submarines, and the ongoing surveillance in the European air space. Before the sale of arms to Finland and Sweden, agreements worth billions of dollars had been signed with the NATO members, Poland and Romania for supply of ‘Patriot’ missile systems.
Norway, had also earlier finalised an agreement to purchase the ‘Fifth Generation Fighters’, F-35’ from the United States and the first ‘F-35’ was received by Norway last year. Norway has also consented to plan for deployment of a unit of US Marines. Along with Norway, Denmark also has signed an agreement to purchase the ‘F-35’ and there are indications that the first few will be delivered in coming months.