The CEO of the US weapons maker Raytheon said Tuesday that the company will not be able to produce any more anti-aircraft Stinger missiles for a few years due to material shortages. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US and its allies have sent thousands of the shoulder-fired Stingers to Kyiv and want to send more.
The US is also looking to send more Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, which are produced by both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Defense News reported that during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, multiple senators called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to replenish Stingers, Javelins, and other weapons.
“The cupboard is empty, or it will be very, very shortly unless the president invokes the Defense Production Act to provide that demand signal on an expedited basis,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said.
The Defense Production Act is a Korean War-era law that, if invoked, would allow US arms makers to cut in line ahead of other domestic manufacturers to receive certain materials it needs. Greg Hayes, the CEO of Raytheon, said that the US hasn’t been purchasing Stingers from the company and that it is very low on materials to produce the missiles.
“We are actively trying to source some of the material, but unfortunately DoD hasn’t bought a Stinger in 18 years,” Hayes said. “As far as the Stingers, we should keep in mind we are currently producing Stingers for an international customer, but we have a very limited stock of material for Stinger production.”
With all the military aid the US and its allies are sending to Ukraine, Raytheon and other arms makers stand to make long-term profits on the war, something Hayes explained in a March 25 interview.
“Everything that’s being shipped into Ukraine today, of course, is coming out of stockpiles, either at DoD or from our NATO allies, and that’s all great news. Eventually we’ll have to replenish it and we will see a benefit to the business over the next coming years,” Hayes said.
Leading a conference on arming Ukraine in Germany on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed the US would keep moving “heaven and earth” to send more weapons to Kyiv. Before taking his post as Biden’s Pentagon chief, Austin served on the board of Raytheon.