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Raytheon CEO Outlines Severe Depletion of Javelin and Stinger Stockpiles amid Ukraine Aid Push

A Ukrainian serviceman holds a Stinger anti-aircraft missile at a position in a front line in Mykolaiv Region, Ukraine, August 11, 2022. (Anna Kudriavtseva/Reuters)

‘We’ve essentially used up 13 years’ worth of Stinger production and five years’ worth of Javelin production.’

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Simi Valley, Calif. — Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes today described the extensive depletion of U.S. stockpiles — equivalent to years’ worth of production — of Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles amid Washington’s program to support the Ukrainian war effort.

Those systems are widely credited with giving Ukraine’s military a fighting chance against Russia’s invading force, and they’re also sought by Taiwan, which is implementing a “Porcupine”-style defense approach to deter a potential Chinese assault.

Hayes spoke about U.S. defense industrial production during a panel on Ukraine at the Reagan National Defense Forum, a high-profile defense-industry confab that attracts a bipartisan congressional delegation, defense contractors, and top Pentagon officials every year.

Although Raytheon is producing 400 Javelins per month with Lockheed Martin as a manufacturing partner, he said, the ongoing fighting in Ukraine has burned through existing weapons stocks.

“The problem is we have consumed so much supply in the first ten months of the war,” he said. “We’ve essentially used up 13 years’ worth of Stinger production and five years’ worth of Javelin production.”

“So the question is, how are we going to resupply, restock inventories,” Hayes added. Raytheon produced Stingers starting in 1977, but the Pentagon had not bought a new Stinger system since 2004, Hayes said in April.

As of May, Washington had sent 5,500 Javelins and 1,400 Stingers to Ukraine. Raytheon won a $624 million contract with the Army that month to backfill U.S. Stinger stocks.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said, during the same panel, that the Pentagon, responding to this trend, has awarded $6 billion worth of new contracts to the defense industry to replenish U.S. weapons stocks.

“Just in the last month, for example, we’ve given contracts to Raytheon for six batteries of NASAMS,” she said, referring to a cutting-edge air-defense system that the U.S. is working to send to Ukraine. “We’ve also given contracts for Excalibur. We’ve also put out contracts to General Dynamics, IMT Defense and one other company to increase production of 155 millimeter ammo, which has been critical to the Ukrainians.”

“We’re working on it, and I think we’re going to ramp up,” Wormuth said, adding that she’s worked with her NATO counterparts to boost allied production of weapons as well. “We shouldn’t have to do this by ourselves.”

The Pentagon’s effort to boost production of systems depleted by the war in Ukraine comes amid some level of uncertainty about the degree to which Washington will continue to send aid to Kyiv when Republicans take control of the House. A growing, though still small, segment of GOP lawmakers has expressed support for cutting off aid to the Ukrainian government. Other Republicans would like to maintain, or even increase, weapons shipments to Ukraine, while cutting economic assistance to the Zelensky government over worries about corruption.

The congressional delegation at this weekend’s forum includes lawmakers from both parties who staunchly support maintaining current levels of aid to Ukraine. Senator Joni Ernst said during the panel that she believes Republicans do not want to live in a world dominated by China and Russia, and that supporting Ukraine is critical to ensuring that that does not come to pass.

“I think it’s important for Republicans to understand that if we are not engaged and present around the globe, if we are not pushing back on Vladimir Putin and Russia, that they will continue to expand,” she said. Ernst later added that some of Washington’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine is worrying because 90 percent of those funds are routed through U.N. entities in which Russia has a role.

During a session earlier this morning, House Armed Services Committee chairman Adam Smith said that some of the focus for increased oversight of aid to Ukraine is “part of Russian propaganda.”

“Ukraine is spending the money really well, and that’s why they’re winning,” he added.

A Reagan Institute survey released ahead of this weekend’s forum found that a majority of respondents are supportive of continuing to back Ukraine.

Still, some officials worry that there are tradeoffs, and that the U.S. push to arm Ukraine is worsening backlogs of weapons sales to Taiwan, the Wall Street Journal reported late last month. Billions of dollars’ worth of Javelin and Stinger sales, ordered in 2015, have not yet been shipped to Taiwan, which is facing down an increasingly acute threat from China.

“We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Ernst said about balancing shipments to Ukraine and Taiwan, adding that “of course, President Xi is watching.”

Jimmy Quinn is the national security correspondent for National Review and a Novak Fellow at The Fund for American Studies.
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