Lockheed Martin Announces Plan To Double Production of Javelin Missiles

Lockheed Martin, a major American defense company, has revealed plans to double the production of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) to support the Ukrainians in their war with Russia and meet the needs of the United States. The announcement occurred shortly after US President Joe Biden stated on May 4, during a visit to Lockheed Martin’s Javelin ATGM production facility in Alabama, that they were planning to ship new Lockheed Martin-made weapons, including the Javelin, to Ukraine.

On CBS News‘ “Face the Nation” on May 8, Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet stated that the company’s goal is to increase production to 4,000 units per year from the current 2100 per year, but that it “will take a number of months maybe even a couple of years.” To help speed up the process, Taiclet suggested that Congress could pass the Innovation Act, which would encourage domestic microprocessor design and manufacturing while reducing reliance on foreign supplies. Taiclet stated that each Javelin missile contains over 250 microprocessors and that the company continues to cooperate with Intel and other companies to meet industry needs.

Many countries supplied Javelin missiles from their own stockpiles to Ukraine. The United States, which provides the largest amount of military aid to Ukraine, has already delivered 5,000 of the 5,500 Javelin missiles promised to Ukraine and is pressuring Congress to approve new orders. In the meantime, the number of Javelin missiles in the US Army’s stockpile is dropping.

Javelin ATGMs sent to Ukraine by the US / From the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Some US congressmen are urging President Biden to put the Defense Production Act into effect, concerned that sending 1/3 of the country’s Javelin and Stinger missile stockpiles to Ukraine will leave the US exposed militarily. Some members of Congress, citing the time it takes to produce these weapons, argue that if javelins are continued to be sent to Ukraine, America will not have enough missiles in the event of a possible war situation.

In response to senators’ concerns, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that while the US continues to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia, they will not allow weapons stockpiles to be depleted to critical levels. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, on the other hand, stated that the Javelin is not the only weapon the US has against armor.

The missiles, which have been utilized extremely effectively by the Ukrainian Army against Russian armored vehicles since the start of the war, have been described as one of the Ukrainian army’s most effective weapons. The Javelin is an anti-tank guided missile developed by a joint venture of Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Lockheed Martin that may be carried and launched by one person. The Javelin’s main feature is its fire-and-forget technology, which allows the gunner to fire and quickly take cover, move to another combat position, or reload. The weapon, which is simple to operate, can be launched from a variety of platforms and may be utilized at any time of day or night and in any weather condition.

Spc. Kevin Gilbrech, team leader, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, fires a Javelin Portable Anti-tank missile Oct. 16, 2014, during a demonstration for Lithuanian and international observers (US Army)

The FGM-148 Javelin is one of the most capable anti-tank missiles on the market. Because this system can direct the missile in the launcher to the top of the vehicle, one of the weakest and most vulnerable areas of tanks and armored vehicles, and because it comes into contact with very thin armor, it can easily pierce and destroy its target. The system, which has a range of around 2.5 kilometers and can pierce armor up to 800mm thick, is currently in use by the US military and 20 other countries.

Header image: President Biden tours a Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama (White House)