British Arms Industry Giant Reaps Huge Windfall, Amid West’s Tensions with Russia and China

by | Aug 2, 2023

British Arms Industry Giant Reaps Huge Windfall, Amid West’s Tensions with Russia and China

by | Aug 2, 2023

bae profits soar

Amid the surge in NATO members’ military spending as a result of the war in Ukraine, BAE Systems announced that – during the first half of this year – its net profits soared with a 57 percent increase. The British arms industry giant reported its huge windfall on Wednesday.

BAE Systems stated its revenue swelled to 11 billion pounds, an increase of 13 percent, while profits after taxes increased to 965 million pounds ($1.2 billion) during the first six months of 2023. This is compared with 615 million pounds in the same period last year.

Chief Executive Charles Woodburn declared “Our global footprint… and leading technologies enable us to effectively support the national security requirements and multi-domain ambitions of our government customers in an increasingly uncertain world.”

In a separate video that accompanies the company’s earnings statement, he acknowledges the profits are directly related to global destabilization and Western foreign policies, particularly those of London and Washington, aimed at Russia and China. Woodburn says “I’m particularly proud of our support to Ukraine… We’ve delivered an excellent set of results.”

In November, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that Ukrainian forces had already suffered over 100,000 casualties, killed or wounded, so far in the proxy war with Russia, along with thousands more civilians killed.

Woodburn’s euphoria regarding the “excellent results” notwithstanding, Ukraine has lost approximately 20 percent of its territory since the Russian invasion began last February. Moreover, Kiev’s long awaited counteroffensive has seen massive losses in military equipment and armor, as well as personnel no doubt, while no significant gains have been made.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported “When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew [Kiev] didn’t have all the training or weapons — from shells to warplanes — that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day. They haven’t. Deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power have combined to largely block significant advances by Ukrainian troops. Instead, the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment.”

The video continues with Woodburn boasting of further profits which will be reaped as a result of BAE’s role in the major military buildup in the Asia-Pacific targeting Beijing. “We’ve secured significant orders for combat vehicles… and the selection of the UK’s design for AUKUS.”

AUKUS is a trilateral military pact formed in 2021 between Washington, London, and Canberra which will see Australia acquiring nuclear-powered attack submarines which will be used to patrol waters near China’s shores. The three countries are currently carrying out the largest iteration of the US-Australia Talisman Sabre war games, again eyeing Beijing. AUKUS will seriously undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty as these submarines run on 90 percent or more enriched uranium, weapons-grade levels.

The most profitable policies for the arms industry are often the most destructive for civilians, such was the case in Saudia Arabia’s genocidal war against the Yemeni people, strongly supported by Washington and London. According to the UN, at least 377,000 people have been killed in this war, including mostly children and infants, as a result of the full blockade imposed by Riyadh on northern Yemen and its devastating bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure.

In 2020, The Guardian reported “Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems sold £15bn worth of arms and services to the Saudi military during the last five years, the period covered by Riyadh’s involvement in the deadly bombing campaign in the war in Yemen.” By the following year, BAE’s sales to Riyadh, since the Gulf kingdom launched its invasion, had increased by 2.5 billion pounds.

According to The Defense Post, subsequent to the company’s announcement on Wednesday, shares in BAE rallied 4.5 percent in early London trading. Andy Chambers, a director at the research group Edison, affirmed “Leading [defense] contractor BAE Systems posted a very strong set of results… benefiting from a general rearmament among NATO countries as the war in Ukraine grinds on.”

In January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists admonished that the risk of nuclear annihilation has never been higher.

About Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on Conflicts of Interest. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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