The Pentagon is scrambling to replenish stocks of Javelin and Stinger missiles the US and its allies have sent to Ukraine as US defense contractors are cashing in on Washington’s support for Ukraine’s war against Russia.
According to open-sourced data examined by Politico, it is estimated that the US has sent Ukraine 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems and 4,600 Javelin anti-tank missiles since January. US allies such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Netherlands have also sent either Stingers or Javelins to Ukraine that the Pentagon is looking to replace.
Javelin missiles are made through a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies. Stingers are produced solely by Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who served on the board of the weapons maker before taking his post at the Pentagon.
Congress has already handed the Pentagon $3.5 billion to replenish its weapons stocks as part of the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill that President Biden recently signed. Sources told Politico that the Pentagon faces some hurdles in getting the missiles produced as quickly as they want and is considering invoking the Defense Production Act.
The Defense Production Act would allow arms makers such as Raytheon and Lockheed to cut the line and receive necessary components ahead of other domestic manufacturers. Pentagon spokesperson Jessica Maxwell told Politico that the Pentagon hadn’t made a decision on invoking the law.
For now, Javelins and Stingers are still being made, and a source told Politico that Lockheed and Raytheon will ramp up production once funding from the government comes through. Back in January, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said the company could benefit from the tensions in Eastern Europe and elsewhere around the world.
"[W]e are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales. We just have to look to last week where we saw the drone attack in the UAE, which have attacked some of their other facilities. And of course, the tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it," Hayes said.