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Ukraine conflict: Lockheed Martin to boost production capacity for popular weapons

Lockheed Martin is expanding its production capacity for the Javelin anti-tank missile. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Lockheed Martin is expanding its production capacity for the Javelin anti-tank missiles and other weapon systems to prepare for an expected surge in orders, according to the US defence contractor's chief executive.

“Something this urgent, we're going to go ahead and invest it ahead of need, as it's called, because the need's pretty obvious,” Lockheed Martin chairman, president, and CEO James Taiclet told the Washington, DC-based Atlantic Council on 29 April.

To pave the way for higher production rates, Lockheed Martin is buying more equipment, hiring more employees, and allocating more factory space. The company might also “pre-fund” its suppliers to help them “bulk up their capacity, too”, Taiclet said.

In addition to the Javelin, which the Ukrainian forces have used against Russian armoured vehicles, Lockheed Martin's PAC-3 and THAAD interceptor missiles, counter battery radars, and guided rocket systems have generated an increased interest since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The company also makes parts for Raytheon Technologies' Stinger anti-aircraft missile, which the US Department of Defense (DoD) has provided in large numbers to Ukraine.

Lockheed Martin hopes its investments will lead to production contracts from the US DoD and other customers, Taiclet said. Such contracts could not only replenish stocks that the US and its allies have tapped to help Ukraine, but could also support countries that want to start buying weapons for their own use.

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