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Report: U.S. Arms Industry Struggling to Meet Ukrainian Demand
U.S. missile production companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies obtain their rocket motors from just one supplier, the Pentagon awarded Aerojet a $216 million contract...
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Tuesday that American arms manufacturers are struggling to procure ample rocket motors to produce missiles for Ukrainian forces, with production targets postponed as various contractors have been depending on one supplier.
In its quarterly earnings report unveiled on Tuesday, Lockheed Martin claimed that while its overall sales increased from a year earlier, sales of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) dropped because of a “lower volume” of output.
GMLRS projectiles are artillery rockets fired from Lockheed Martin’s M142 HIMARS platform. Based on recent Pentagon figures, the United States has supplied Ukraine with 38 HIMARS platforms, and while the Defense Department failed to reveal how many GMLRS projectiles they have deployed to Kyiv, a November 2022 Reuters report asserted that the figure exceeded 5,000, more than the 4,600 Lockheed Martin can make annually.
Hence, the company has been hindered in enhancing production due to a paucity of rocket motors, the WSJ report stated, adding that other missile makers such as Raytheon Technologies have also felt similar impacts.
Moreover, Lockheed Martin uses solid-fuel rocket motors in its Javelin anti-tank missiles, more than 8,500 of which have been transported to Ukraine over the last year. When President Joe Biden went to the company’s Javelin manufacturing facility in Alabama last May, CEO Jim Taiclet pledged to double production of the shoulder-fired missiles by 2024. Nevertheless, the Pentagon and the company have since told WSJ reporters that the scheduled date has been postponed to 2026.
“We thought we could get there earlier,” Lockheed Martin’s Chief Financial Officer, Jay Malave admitted.
U.S. missile production companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies obtain their rocket motors from just one supplier, Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings. That being said, while the Pentagon awarded Aerojet a $216 million contract to bolster production, the supplier claimed that it was still reeling from the aftermath of a fire at one of its factories in 2022.
Although there is a seeming postponement of rocket artillery and guided-missile production, Ukraine is allegedly struggling with a lack of conventional artillery rounds, according to recent leaked Pentagon documents. The documents also disclosed that such a shortfall is hindering a planned spring offensive by Ukrainian forces, with America turning to its allies to replenish Ukraine’s stockpiles.
Likewise on April 21, the New York Times (NYT) reported that the United States and its allies have not deployed the tanks, artillery ammunition, and other supplies required by Ukraine to launch a spring offensive against Russia, quoting the aforementioned leaked Pentagon documents.
U.S. military planners estimated that Kyiv would require 253 tanks for the planned attack, but only managed to obtain 200 by late February. Of those obtained, 140 were Soviet designs while only 60 tanks of Western manufacture would be delivered by this month, the Times reported.
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