Raytheon and Lockheed Martin awarded new massive contract for Javelin antitank missiles for Jordan and Lithuania

On September 13, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin JV, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $311,171,700 modification to contract W31P4Q-19-C-0076 for full-rate production of FGM-148 Javelins.
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USMC Lance Cpl. Justin Cooper and Cpl. Jacob Siemsen fire a Javelin missile at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, April 12, 2021 (Picture source: U.S. DoD)

Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2026. Fiscal 2022 Foreign Military Sales (Jordan and Lithuania) funds and Army procurement appropriations funds in the amount of $311,171,700 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Red Stone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

The FGM-148 Javelin, or Advanced Anti-Tank Weapon System-Medium (AAWS-M), is a portable anti-tank missile system in service since 1996, and continuously upgraded. It replaced the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service. Its fire-and-forget design uses automatic infrared guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch, in contrast to wire-guided systems, like the system used by the Dragon, which require a user to guide the weapon throughout the engagement. The Javelin's high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead can defeat modern tanks by top attack, hitting them from above, where their armor is thinnest, and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, NATO has been providing thousands of Javelins to Ukraine, where they proved highly effective. Javelins have been responsible for a part of the hundreds of armored vehicles Ukraine has destroyed, captured or damaged. An image dubbed "Saint Javelin", which shows Mary Magdalene holding a Javelin launcher in the style of an Eastern Orthodox church painting, gained attraction in social media and soon became a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion. An unknown number of Javelin launch tube assemblies were captured by the Russian armed forces during the conflict; it is unclear if any of the captured launchers contained live rounds, or were simply tubes discarded after being used. On 18 March, the Pentagon claimed out of 112 Javelins fired by the Ukrainians since the start of the war, 100 missiles had hit their target.

In a commentary from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), concerns were raised over the US stock of Javelin missiles. According to CSIS, the US has used close to one-third of its Javelin missiles; 7,000 have been supplied thus far, with the United States buying Javelins at the rate of about 1,000 a year. The maximum production rate is 6,480 a year, but it would likely take a year or more to reach that level. Orders take 32 months to deliver; the report concluded that it would take about three or four years to replace the missiles that have already been sent to Ukraine. The missile production rate could be increased greatly with a national procurement effort. On May 8, 2022, Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet stated that Lockheed will nearly double the production of Javelins to 4,000 a year. Additionally, Ukrainian officials estimated that up to 500 missiles per day were being used in the early days of the war. On August 8, 2022, the US committed to sending an additional 1,000 Javelin missiles. And it is not the end...

Official press release from Lockheed Martin issued on September 14, 2022

Orlando, Fla. (September 14, 2022) – The U.S. Army awarded the Javelin Joint Venture a production contract for Javelin missiles and associated equipment and services with a total value of $311 million. This contract provides procurement of Javelin systems and production support for the U.S. Army and international customers Lithuania and Jordan. The contract also includes more than 1,800 Javelins that will replenish rounds sent to Ukraine.

Javelin is developed and produced by the Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) between Raytheon Missiles & Defense in Tucson, Arizona and Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Florida.

“With usage increasing across the globe, the Javelin Joint Venture is working closely with the Army to meet these increased demands and deliver this critical precision weapon system to domestic and international customers,” said Dave Pantano, Javelin Joint Venture vice president and Lockheed Martin Javelin program director. “Our team continues to remain committed to delivering reliable and battle-proven products that demonstrate performance excellence.”

Javelin is a versatile, one-man-portable and multi-purpose weapon system that provides the capability to defeat a broad spectrum of threats under all conditions. It employs fire-and-forget missile guidance technology over its entire engagement envelope, affording the highest level of survivability to the user.

“As Javelin continues to demonstrate its reliability and effectiveness, its reputation as the premier battle-proven, fire-and-forget precision anti-armor weapon grows,” said Marek Wolert, Javelin Joint Venture president and Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Javelin program director. “Our commitment to delivering this exceptional weapon system to global ground forces is unwavering.”

To date, the Javelin Joint Venture has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles and more than 12,000 reusable Command Launch Units. Javelin is expected to remain in the U.S. weapon arsenal until 2050 and is subject to continual upgrades to support evolving operational needs.