Pentagon’s bonanza for US missile makers
A joint venture by Raytheon Missiles and Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $311 million contract for Javelin missiles, the Pentagon announced on Thursday. To replace the weapons sent to Ukraine, the company will deliver more than 1,800 anti-tank missiles to the US Army.
Defense Department records show that the Javelin Joint Venture has been awarded a total of $663 million in contracts this year under the Ukraine armament programs. Raytheon additionally got $624 million in May to produce replacements for Stinger missiles sent to Kiev, while Lockheed received a $33 million contract in August for HIMARS rocket artillery components.
“As we use various authorities to replenish our own stocks, industry can expect a strong, persistent demand signal,” the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante said in a statement announcing the contract.
By the Pentagon’s own admission, the US has sent Ukraine “more than $17.2 billion in security assistance” since 2014, and another $14.5 billion since the hostilities escalated in February. Most of the funding earmarked for Kiev actually goes to the US military industry, to replenish the Pentagon stockpiles.
Between the deliveries of weapons and ammunition and direct involvement of military and intelligence officials in Ukrainian operations – as admitted in the American press – the US has become openly involved in the conflict, Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said in an interview on Wednesday. Antonov noted in particular the “insatiable appetite” of the US military-industrial complex, which he said played a major role in the belligerent American policy.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are two of the biggest components of the US military-industrial complex, with headquarters just outside Washington, DC. Lockheed gained notoriety with the F-35 fighter program, the cost of which has been estimated at more than $1.5 trillion. Raytheon is best known for jet engines and an array of missiles. Current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sat on the latter’s board of directors after he retired from the army.