The US Army has given Raytheon Technologies a $624.6 million contract to develop Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to replenish its own stockpile after providing around 1,400 Stingers to Ukraine to reinforce the country’s defense against the Russian incursion.
The Pentagon announced Friday that “work sites and financing will be established with each order, with a projected completion date of June 30, 2026.” Reuters was the first to announce the contract award, which was expected to take several weeks.
Raytheon will produce 1,300 additional Stinger missiles, according to a statement released immediately after the contract was announced.
According to the corporate statement, “the contract includes provisions for engineering assistance, as well as the test equipment and support needed to resolve obsolescence, upgrade essential components, and speed production.”
In Ukraine, Stinger and Javelin have been in great demand as efficient ways of repelling Russia’s invasion. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the Pentagon has deployed Stingers and more than 5,500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, among other military assets.
This month, Congress enacted a $40 billion funding bill for Ukraine, authorizing the Biden administration to transfer another $11 billion in military equipment to the nation; the bill also contains $8.7 billion to replenish inventories previously provided.
The Army has not purchased any Stingers since 2005, as it embarks on a project to develop the next generation of man-portable anti-aircraft missiles while modernizing its existing arsenal.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, the Army announced it will award a contract to Raytheon to fix the Stinger’s most significant outmoded part, its dual-detector assembly, according to a spokesperson for the Army’s purchasing office. The Stinger’s dual-detector seeker locates targets using infrared and ultraviolet sensors.
According to the spokesperson, the Army is also working on a plan to utilize advanced procurement monies to acquire long-lead parts and materials for advanced weapons “in complete collaboration with” the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes has stated that his business may not be able to produce new Stingers until at least 2023, and that the company will have to rework electronics in the missile’s seeker head since some components are no longer commercially accessible.
The Pentagon also recently awarded Raytheon and Lockheed Martin a $9.9 million contract modification for Javelin anti-tank missile technical services as part of an attempt to replace inventories of that weapon, which is also being supplied to Ukraine in huge quantities.
The award comes on the heels of two additional contract amendments granted this month totaling $239 million and $309 million for Javelin manufacture to be finished by late 2025 to replenish supplies deployed to Ukraine while also supplying Norway, Albania, Latvia, and Thailand. The deal, which runs until 2019, has a cap of nearly $2.2 billion.
Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet stated that the company’s goal is to almost increase Javelin anti-tank missile production to 4,000 per year, but that this would take “a number of months, maybe even a couple of years,” and that Congress may help by reshoring microprocessor manufacture.
According to CNN, the Pentagon is planning to boost the ante in Ukraine by deploying High Mobility Artillery Rocket Launchers and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. According to CNN, the Biden administration is poised to announce the move as part of its next military assistance package as early as next week.
New contracts to replace Javelin and Stingers supplied from US stocks were due to be signed earlier this month, according to the Army’s procurement officer, Douglas Bush, in recent congressional testimony. However, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth stated in separate evidence that replacing the service’s Javelins may take up to 18 months.
“We’re working with both Raytheon and Lockheed to see what they can do to speed up production,” Wormuth said, adding later that congressional funding would help replenish munition stocks.
Earlier this month, Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell stated that the department was able to supply weapons to Ukraine “without compromising military preparedness, and we still have the sufficient inventory for our needs.”
“We are continuing to engage with industry to replace US supplies and backfill stocks of friends and partners,” she said in a statement. “We have asked more money from Congress through the supplemental bill to continue this effort.”