The White House said Wednesday that President Biden will visit a Lockheed Martin facility in Alabama next week that is producing Javelin anti-tank missiles systems, which the US has been shipping to Ukraine.
Biden’s planned trip highlights the administration’s focus on arming Ukraine, and it comes amid concerns about the supply of Javelins. The US first started sending Javelins to Ukraine during the Trump administration in what at the time was considered a significant escalation in US military support for Kyiv.
It’s estimated that at this point, the US has given Ukraine about one-third of its Javelin stockpile. The anti-tank weapons are a joint project between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and they continue to be in high demand as the US is vowing to increase military aid to Ukraine.
The US has also sent Ukraine thousands of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which are solely produced by Raytheon, the former employer of Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Raytheon has said it will not be able to produce Stingers for a few more years due to material shortages, prompting members of Congress to call for President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act.
If invoked, the Defense Production Act would allow US arms manufacturers to get first priority of materials it needs over other domestic manufacturers. US weapons makers stand to see a long-term benefit from the war in Ukraine as the US and its allies are funneling billions of dollars worth of arms into the war zone. Since Russia invaded on February 24, the Biden administration has pledged about $3.7 billion in military aid for Kyiv.