The Javelin anti-tank missile is creating some serious problems for Russian armor in Ukraine. Lockheed has a plan to make a lot more of them – and as fast as possible: Lockheed Martin will nearly double the number of Javelin anti-tank missiles it produces, to 4,000 a year, CEO James Taiclet said Sunday.
“Right now our capacity is 2,100 Javelin missiles per year. We’re endeavoring to take that up to 4,000 per year,” he told CBS’s Face The Nation.
Of late, the portable, self-guided missiles have been used to devastating effect by Ukrainian troops seeking to counter Russian armor. They’ve been credited with helping Ukraine halt a huge column of Russian tanks that was headed for Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the early weeks of the invasion.
Javelin missiles have formed a key component of US military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24. The US has sent at least 5,000 Javelin missiles to Ukraine, as well as other defense hardware, as part of its $3.4 billion military and civilian support package.
Ukrainian officials estimated that the country was using up to 500 Javelin missiles per day in the early weeks of the war, CNN reported in March.
Taiclet said Sunday: “The threat between Russia and China is going to increase even after the Ukraine war. Those two nations and regionally, Iran, and North Korea are not going to get less active — probably they’re going to get more active.”
He said: “We can start turning up the heat now and ramping up production immediately. We’re planning for the long run and not just in the Javelin.”
Taiclet added it would take “a number of months, maybe even a couple of years” to get the company’s supply chain to “crank up” to meet the company’s production goals.
On Tuesday, President Biden visited Lockheed’s facility in Alabama as part of efforts to push Congress to approve a further $33 billion aid package for Ukraine, which would include more than $20 billion in military assistance, Reuters reported.
US defense officials have expressed concern over the size of the Javelin missile stockpile. Missouri senator Roy Blunt told a Senate committee hearing on May 3 that the US had provided about one-third of its Javelin missiles to Ukraine.
Stephen Jones is Insider’s London-based Careers Reporter. His reporting focuses on career advice, the science of work and policy surrounding the future of employment.