Pentagon moves $1.45 billion to restock Javelin, Stinger missiles sent to Ukraine
The Pentagon has shifted $1.45 billion to the Army and Marine Corps to restock Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles the United States has sent to Ukraine, the Defense Department’s top weapons buyer said Friday.
The funds come from the $13.6 billion supplemental funding granted by Congress in March for Ukraine-related assistance — $3.5 billion of which is meant to replenish U.S. weapons stocks.
“Following the required 30-day notification to Congress, the first tranche of funds, roughly $1.45 billion, was transferred to the Army and Marines earlier this week to procure replenishment stocks of Stingers, Javelins and other key components,” William LaPlante, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters.
Inside Defense first reported on the transfer, which includes about $1.1 billion for the Army — split between $809 million for Javelin missiles and $303 million for Stingers — with the Marine Corps getting $370 million for Stingers, according to a document the outlet obtained from the Pentagon comptroller.
The U.S. has given Ukraine more than 1,400 Stinger systems and 5,500 Javelins along with billions of dollars’ worth of other weapons since Russia began its attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The missiles, which can be man-carried and launched, have been used to great effect against Kremlin forces.
But with the U.S. having provided a third of its stockpile of Javelins and a quarter of its Stingers in just under three months of war, the Biden administration is scrambling to refill those depleted supplies.
To that end the administration has requested a second supplemental from Congress, another $33 billion to support the Ukrainian military and economy and address the humanitarian crisis prompted by the war. About $5.4 billion of that would go toward additional weapons replenishment.
Compounding the issue, however, is Raytheon Technologies, the maker of Stinger missiles. Last week it revealed it will not be able to quickly produce more of the weapons due to lack of parts and materials.
Raytheon won’t be able to ramp up production of Stingers 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 said.
LaPlante on Friday acknowledged the Pentagon’s hurdles.
“I think the last few weeks have really highlighted the intensity of conventional conflicts now in the 21st century. And the demand for munitions and weapons platforms, it really outpaces anything we’ve seen in recent memory,” he said.
LaPlante noted that the Army is “actively negotiating” with industry for Stingers and related components, with an award expected at the end of May.
For Javelins, an award is imminent, he added.
In addition, the Pentagon will award a $17.8 million contract for industry to produce and ship Switchblade unmanned aerial systems to Ukraine.
“That’s an award that’s going to be seen later today, later this afternoon,” LaPlante said.
The contract will be funded from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative — a $300 million pot of money included in the March supplemental funding — with $136.8 million of that awarded so far, LaPlante said.
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