Any significant shift toward the United States as a supplier is likely to trigger a backlash from Europe's fragmented defence industry.

Pentagon sets up a team to respond to the increased demand.
Pentagon sets up a team to respond to the increased demand. (Getty Images)

European governments have approached the US government and defence contractors with a shopping list of arms including drones, missiles and missile defences as the Russian onslaught against Ukraine drives renewed demand for US weaponry.

Germany, which is nearing a deal for 35 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jet fighters, has inquired about systems to defend against ballistic missiles, sources familiar with the situation said.

Meanwhile, Poland urgently wants to purchase sophisticated Reaper drone systems from the United States, a Polish government official said this week.

Requests are also coming in from other countries in Eastern Europe, where allies are keen to acquire weaponry that Ukraine has successfully used against Russia forces, including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles and anti-tank Javelin missiles.

The inquiries comes as countries in Europe boost defence budgets to meet an increasingly uncertain security outlook, with Germany, Sweden and Denmark among those promising a sharp increase in spending.

To speed up US government approval for sales and transfers of arms produced by American defence contractors, the Pentagon has re-established a team to respond to the increased demand.

"The Department of Defense is exploring options to support Ukraine's needs, rapidly replenish US inventories and backfill depleted stocks of allies and partners," a senior defence official said.

Pentagon was working with contractors on ways to "mitigate supply chain constraints (and) accelerate production timelines", he added.

Typically, US defence deals take years of negotiations, approvals and vetting after countries have spent up to several years deciding on their needs.

READ MORE: US arms makers see booming European demand as threats multiply

'Urgent need to replenish depleted inventories'

The potential for a surge in sales of all types of weaponry since the conflict began February 24 has lifted Lockheed stock 8.3 percent and Raytheon shares 3.9 percent.

Raytheon executive Tom Laliberty said the company recognises "the urgent need to replenish depleted inventories of Javelin and Stinger."

Any significant shift toward the United States as a supplier is likely to trigger a backlash from Europe's fragmented defence industry.

The head of Dassault Aviation earlier this month lambasted the German decision to order the F-35, saying it could weaken support for collaborative projects like the Franco-German FCAS fighter shared by Dassault and Airbus.

Germany is also examining US-made missile defence systems like Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD), although that is not a frontrunner for purchase. 

An opposition politician, for example, has asked about the purchase of the short-range rocket interceptor called Iron Dome to protect Berlin. 

Decision-making on what to buy is in early stages.

A German defence ministry spokesperson declined to comment.

READ MORE: Why are global arms sales increasing despite the pandemic?

Source: Reuters