in this 2022 photo, a woman passes by graffiti depicting a Ukrainian serviceman shooting a US-made Javelin portable anti-tank missile system in central Kyiv.

in this 2022 photo, a woman passes by graffiti depicting a Ukrainian serviceman shooting a US-made Javelin portable anti-tank missile system in central Kyiv. Oleksii Chumachenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Lockheed, Raytheon sign deal to make Javelin anti-tank weapons in Poland

The United States has given Ukraine more than 10,000 of the weapons so far as they fight against the Russian invasion.

Javelin makers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have taken early steps toward manufacturing the in-demand anti-tank weapons in Poland.

The U.S.-based companies signed a memorandum of understanding with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa to “explore the establishment of a final assembly facility and component production capabilities in Poland,” the companies said Wednesday in a joint statement.

“The MOU allows us to develop a strategic long-term international partnership with PGZ and create a win-win scenario for both Poland and the U.S. to supply our customers with Javelin’s proven capabilities,” Dave Pantano, Javelin Joint Venture vice president and Lockheed Martin Javelin program director, said in a statement.

Lockheed and Raytheon said the agreement will help stabilize “future production of the Javelin system for U.S. forces while providing unique opportunities for Polish industry.”

As of late last month, the U.S. has given Ukraine more than 10,000 Javelins, according to the Pentagon. The weapons were credited with helping the Ukrainian military keep Russian troops out of Kyiv in the early days of the war.

The Pentagon in recent months has taken steps to boost production of critical munitions to supply Ukraine and replenish U.S. and ally stockpiles. In March, the Pentagon stood up the Joint Production Accelerator Cell to find ways to increase munition production. 

“I think the real question in our mind is, how many systems are we going to do it for and the funding needed to be able to do it,” Bill LaPlante, the defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment said at a National Defense Industrial Association conference last week. “We are always looking [for] … second and third sourcing.”

The Army recently announced plans to manufacture more than 1 million artillery shells per year, by 2025.

“The Army has found second, third, fourth sources around the world for that,” LaPlante said.

Stateside, Lockheed and Raytheon are working to boost Javelin production from from 2,000 to more than 3,500 per year.

But the war in the Ukraine has shown just how quickly the militaries burn through critical munitions, and has prompted Pentagon officials to come up with new ways of manufacturing, including co-producing critical weapons at overseas locations.

“To surge production, industry not only must overcome supply chain issues, but also open new production lines, which requires additional machine tooling and an expanded workforce,” Stacie Pettyjohn and Hanna Dennis write in a new Center for a New American Security report about boosting munition production. “Putting these pieces in place typically takes several years and requires substantial investment.” 

Producing U.S. weapons overseas is not a new concept. Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky assembles Black Hawk helicopters in Poland. Lockheed also assembles F-35s in Italy and Japan and recently announced an arrangement for Germany’s Rheinmetall to manufacture fuselages for the stealth fighters.