Amid Ukraine crisis, Lockheed-Raytheon partnership secures $309 million for Javelins

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade prepare to fire an FMG-148 Javelin at a BMP-2M tank during a simulated urban engagement August 20, 2020 in part of Exercise Saber Junction 20. (US Army/Sgt John Yountz)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon has awarded a Lockheed Martin-Raytheon joint venture $309 million contracts for the Javelin program, funding a total of 1,300 anti-tank missiles that will fill U.S. stockpiles that have been supplied to the Ukrainian military , the companies announced today.

In addition to Javelin systems intended to replace those sent to Ukraine, the two contracts – a $238 million deal announced May 6 and a $71 million contract starting May 12 – also include orders for international customers, including Norway, Albania, Latvia and Thailand, the Lockheed-Raytheon joint venture said in a statement.

The United States has supplied more than 5,500 Javelin shoulder-mounted anti-armour systems since the start of the Biden administration, with most deliveries occurring after Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Lawmakers have pressured Pentagon leaders to take back the weapons they supplied to Ukraine, particularly its stockpiles of Javelins and Raytheon’s Stinger man-portable anti-aircraft systems. On May 6, Pentagon acquisitions manager Bill LaPlante told reporters that a Javelin contract was “imminent,” with a Stinger price expected by the end of May.

Jim Taiclet, CEO of Lockheed told CBS News earlier this month, Lockheed hopes to increase Javelin production by 2,100 to 4,000 units per year. However, the contract announcement contained few details on whether the funds from these awards will give Lockheed the money it needs to start expanding its production facilities and buying additional equipment from suppliers. .

“The Javelin joint venture is working hard to meet this increase in demand,” Dave Pantano, who manages the Javelin program on behalf of Lockheed, said in a press release. “Javelin’s unique capabilities have proven to be a difference maker in our users’ defining moments, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the military to deliver this essential weapon system.”

While Lockheed is working to ramp up production of the missiles themselves, Raytheon is focused on ramping up production of the weapon system command launch unit, the press release said.

“We remain committed to delivering this exceptional weapon system to warfighters around the world,” said Marek Wolert, president of Javelin Joint Venture and program director at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Raytheon is working proactively with our supply chain to ensure our readiness and ability to meet this urgent need.”

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said it was “very disturbing” that reports indicated the United States had provided between a quarter and a third of their Javelin and Stinger stocks in Ukraine.

Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, responded that the US industrial base would be able to recover its stockpiles of Javelins and Stingers, with the caveat that this would not happen. not immediately.

“Given enough time, the innovative industrial base of the American private sector, combined with our organic industrial base, can meet the needs. However, that would require funding to accelerate those aspects of those things so that we could sustain those rates,” he said. “The army has a plan to replenish them. I can assure you that we are pushing all the doors and looking at all the options to make this process go much faster than some of the timelines you have heard.

Specifically, Bush said Congress could provide advanced procurement funding to the military for the Javelin program, which would allow Lockheed and Raytheon to purchase long-term items a year before the missiles are produced.

Overall, the Lockheed-Raytheon joint venture produced over 50,000 Javelin missiles and 12,000 reusable command launch units. According to the companies, the anti-tank weapon can achieve ranges of up to 4 kilometers under most operational conditions.

Christi C. Elwood