NATO members in Europe have signed a contract for up to 1,000 Patriot missiles to bolster air defenses in the face of the threat from Russia, the alliance said Wednesday.

The announcement of the contract, estimated to be worth $5.5 billion, comes as Moscow has unleashed repeated barrages of deadly missile and drone strikes against Ukraine in recent days.

NATO’s procurement agency said the deal agreed upon by an initial group of countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain would see Patriot missile production stepped up in Europe.


When it comes to procuring weapons, does NATO have specific guidelines and regulations that member countries must adhere to? Are there established rules governing the acquisition of military equipment within the alliance? I am curious about how they go about getting military equipment. Do they all have to stick to the same playbook, or is it more of a free-for-all? Just wondering how it all works when they're procuring military equipment, because I don't think they're allowed to buy Russian or Chinese military equipment.

  • 1
    NATO member Turkey bought a batch of Russian S 400 missile defense systems a couple years back which caused some friction and US sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Jan 20 at 15:18
  • @KelvinSherlock Yes, especially because S-400 is able to shoot down NATO's missiles and aircrafts... Jan 20 at 15:42
  • 5
    "S-400 is able to shoot down NATO's missiles and aircraft" -- Yes, but the Patriot missile is also able to shoot down NATO missiles and aircraft. So I'm not sure what point you're making. The UK has quite a good deal of capability to shoot down French and US aircraft - ha ha, it's funny because it's irrelevant in the current geopolitical climate. @άνθρωπος
    – James K
    Jan 20 at 19:54
  • @JamesK: in fact the Patriot was one of the main concerns of the allied pilots during the Gulf war[s]. latimes.com/archives/… Jan 20 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are guidelines. There's a NATO Standardization Office and there are standardization agreements (STANAG). Some of the more famous ones (IMHO)

  • STANAG 2310 7.62×51mm NATO adopted in the 1953 as the sole standard infantry rifle cartridge (7.62x51mm) up until STANAG 4172 in 1980.
  • STANAG 3117 Aircraft Marshalling Signals [those gestures you see on aircraft carriers etc.]
  • STANAG 3838: MIL-STD-1553, mechanical, electrical and functional characteristics of a serial data bus [used onboard aircraft]
  • STANAG 4385 120 mm ammunition for smoothbore tank guns
  • STANAG 4579 The adoption of standard Identification of Friend or Foe [IFF] hardware that can be recognized and processed between all NATO nations
  • STANAG 4694: NATO Accessory Rail

(One of the more intersting failures to formally standardize was the magazine for the combat rifles though.)

AFAIK there's nothing as elaborated as standardizing anti-aircraft missiles though. But products of non-NATO countries may fail to be interoperable in some [standardized] regards. (Not necessarily though--many South Korean weapon systems are designed with these in mind, even though they're not part of NATO.) Anti-aircraft missiles are complex enough that's more often not possible to multi/second-source them, although some were e.g. the Stinger is also made under license by Airbus (in Europe) and Rocketsan (of Turkey).

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    Worth noting that the rifle ammunition standard cited is no longer in force. In 1980, it switched to a standard 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge. But this is no longer binding either. The U.S. is in the process of converting to a 6.8mm assault rifle ammunition standard, which, so far as I know, other NATO countries are not transitioning to at this time. Likewise the U.S. Army's new 42 ton M10 Booker "light" tank (which the DOD refuses to call a tank) will have 105mm tank shells and 7.62mm (0.30 caliber) machine gun rounds, in addition to 12.7 mm (i.e. 0.50 caliber) heavy machine gun rounds.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 23 at 17:15

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