Raytheon CEO warns of delays in Stinger missile production

The Raytheon logo is displayed on a building
Associated Press/Elise Amendola
The U.S. has already spent more than $1 billion in the past year to arm Ukrainian soldiers with modern weapons, including Raytheon’s anti-aircraft Stinger missiles. 

Raytheon Technologies, the maker of the thousands of Stinger missiles sent to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, will not be able to quickly produce more of the weapons due to lack of parts and materials, the company’s CEO said Tuesday. 

Raytheon won’t be able to ramp up production of Stinger anti-aircraft systems until at least 2023, as the company must “redesign some of the electronics in the missile and the seeker head,” due to some components no longer being commercially available, CEO Greg Hayes told investors during a Tuesday earnings call. 

That redesign is “going to take us a little bit of time,” Hayes said. 

In addition, Raytheon’s production line is only able to build a limited number of Stingers and will need a big commitment from the U.S. government to fund a sharp increase in production, factors that mean missile assembly won’t be ramped up until next year at the earliest, he predicted.  

The United States has given more than $3.7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.  That amount includes more than 1,400 Stingers, which are portable systems that can be used to shoot down aircraft and drones. 

European nations have also pulled hundreds of Stingers from their stockpiles for Kyiv.  

But until the war, the Army had been moving to retire Stingers, moving instead toward a new portable anti-air missile to be built by 2028.  

That drawdown means a slowed timeline to replenish stocks. 

“We’ve been working with the [Defense Department] for the last couple of weeks, we’re actively trying to source some of the material, but unfortunately, DOD hasn’t bought a Stinger in about 18 years and some of the components are no longer commercially available,” Hayes said. 

“We are currently producing Stingers for an international customer, but we have a very limited stock of material for Stinger production,” he added.  

Hayes’s comments come as the Pentagon has been working with the defense industry to increase arms production to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Congress last month finalized a $1.5 trillion spending bill that will give $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid in fiscal year 2022 — $3.5 billion of which is meant to replenish weapons stocks — but some lawmakers have also called on the Biden administration to use the Defense Production Act to address the supply chain issues that come with backfilling the armaments.  

Tags Raytheon Stinger missiles Ukraine

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