The US military has contracted a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Missiles & Defense to produce an unspecified number of Javelin anti-tank missiles worth up to $7.2 billion.

The weapons will be distributed to the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and international allies through 2026.

According to US Army acquisition official Doug Bush, the military and its industry partners are striving to shorten the production time and delivery of the systems to prepare for emerging threats.

“This contract award further illustrates the urgency the US government is applying to the acquisition of systems and replenishing munitions stockpiles,” he explained.

At present, Lockheed and Raytheon have produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles for the US armed forces and international customers.

The Javelin Missile

The Javelin is a man-portable, medium-range tactical missile system that provides precision direct fire against enemy main battle tanks and other armored vehicles.

It employs a fire-and-forget principle, which eliminates the need for any additional guidance to successfully hit its targets.

The weapon has a top attack flight profile that allows it to climb above its target for improved visibility and then strikes where the armor is weakest.

It is fitted with a state-of-the-art imaging infrared seeker and tandem warhead for improved accuracy and power.

Apart from neutralizing armored vehicles, the Javelin can execute direct attacks against buildings, close-in targets, and helicopters.

Ukrainian troops load a truck with US-made Javelins anti-tank missiles
Ukrainian troops load a truck with US-made Javelins anti-tank missiles at Kyiv’s Boryspil airport, February 11, 2022. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Replenishing Stockpiles

The contract award comes amid reports that the US is running low on ammunition because of its massive military aid to war-torn Ukraine.

Just two months after the invasion began, Washington had already shipped 5,500 shoulder-fired Javelins to counter Russian attacks.

The US also promised to send Taiwan the first batch of 200 Javelin anti-tank missiles later this year.

Another batch of 200 Javelins will reportedly be handed over to the Taiwanese military “at some point in 2024.”