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Lockheed aims to double production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, CEO says

Lockheed Martin Corp. intends to roughly double its production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, a key weapon in Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion, Chief Executive James Taiclet said Sunday.

In a Sunday morning interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Taiclet said the defense contractor is already preparing for a production ramp-up.

“So right now, our capacity is 2,100 Javelin missiles per year,” he told host Margaret Brennan, according to a transcript. “We’re endeavoring to take that up to 4,000 per year, and that will take a number of months, maybe even a couple of years to get there because we have to get our supply chain to also crank up. As we do so, we think we can almost double the capacity in a reasonable amount of time.”

Lockheed
LMT,
+1.42%

makes the Javelin jointly with Raytheon Technologies Corp.
RTX,
-1.06%
.

The Javelin has proven crucial to the Ukrainian military in negating Russia’s advantage in tanks and armored vehicles. Last week, President Joe Biden visited a Lockheed factory in Alabama where Javelins are made, and Biden urged Congress on Thursday to approve $33 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Taiclet said the production ramp-up is getting underway even before anticipated orders for Javelins and other weapons systems have been placed.

“We’re planning for the long run,” he said. “We know there’s going to be increased demand for those kinds of systems from the U.S. and for our allies as well and beyond into Asia-Pacific, most likely too.”

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Taiclet also said Lockheed is collaborating with Intel Corp.
INTC,
-0.67%

to make advanced microprocessors that can be used for national defense systems, and said it would be “extremely helpful” if Congress passed the Bipartisan Innovation Act, a $52 billion plan to boost domestic chip production.

“Our production line can run today, but in the future we’re going to need more domestic capability and microprocessor, not only design but manufacturing, testing, etc., so that we have assured supply of those microprocessors in the future” he said.

Lockheed shares have surged 26% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s
SPX,
-0.57%

13% decline this year.

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