The missiles are in excessive demand in Ukraine, the place they’ve been used to shoot down Russian helicopters and bombers.
The USA army has signed a contract for $687m price of anti-craft Stinger missiles to replenish US shares despatched to Ukraine, sources advised the Reuters information company in an unique report.
The contract for a complete of 1,468 Stingers was awarded on Wednesday, in line with a doc reviewed by the information company. There was no timeline for completion of the work, but it surely was estimated supply may take as much as 30 months.
The shoulder-fired anti-aircraft Stinger missiles made by Raytheon Applied sciences have been in excessive demand in Ukraine, in line with the report, the place they’ve efficiently stopped Russian assaults from the air.
The Pentagon and Raytheon didn’t instantly reply to requests from the Reuters information company for remark.
US troops have restricted use for the present provide of Stingers – a light-weight, self-contained weapon that may be deployed rapidly to defend towards helicopters, aeroplanes, drones and even cruise missiles – however the US wants to take care of its provide available whereas it develops the following technology of a “man-portable air defence system”.
The event on Friday got here as President Joe Biden’s administration and its allies have been offering Ukraine with more and more subtle and various arms to fight Russia’s invasion forces, together with longer-range weaponry, corresponding to M777 howitzers.
The invoice additionally authorised the Biden administration a further $11bn to switch weapons providers from the US stockpile in response to an emergency, with out having to hunt congressional approval.
The Stinger manufacturing line was closed in December 2020, the Pentagon has stated. In July 2021, Raytheon gained a contract to fabricate extra Stingers, however primarily for worldwide governments, in line with the US Military.
The challenges to replenishing US shares have included problems associated to ramping up manufacturing, reluctance by the US to redirect precious manufacturing capability to decades-old expertise, and fears amongst defence firms that they’d be caught with undesirable arms when the Ukraine struggle winds down, in line with interviews with US officers and defence corporations.
On Might 6 the Pentagon’s chief weapons purchaser, Invoice LaPlante, stated that he had aimed to signal a contract by the top of Might and that the intent is to exchange the Stinger missiles despatched to Ukraine one-for-one.
Raytheon Chief Govt Greg Hayes advised analysts throughout an April 26 convention name that the Pentagon has not ordered new Stingers in 18 years, however has ordered elements or made different efforts to extend its provide.
“A number of the parts are not commercially accessible, and so we’re going to must exit and redesign a few of the electronics within the missile of the seeker head,” Hayes stated. “That’s going to take us just a little little bit of time.”
The military can also be in the course of a “service life extension plan” for a few of its Stingers that had been to grow to be out of date in 2023 and is extending what the army calls their “helpful life” till 2030.
The only real Stinger facility is positioned within the US state of Arizona.