Lockheed Looks For Suppliers To Support Missile Boom

Credit: Javelin: DOD

FARNBOROUGH—Lockheed Martin is seeking to add suppliers amid a production ramp-up for tactical missiles fueled by surging demand from the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, senior executives said July 20 at the Farnborough Airshow. 

“We are looking for additional sources of supply,” said Rita Flaherty, vice president of strategy and business development at Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business unit. 

Lockheed has committed to doubling annual production of the Javelin missile after the U.S. government transferred thousands of the anti-tank weapons to help Ukrainian forces fight Russian armored units. Deliveries are rising to 4,000 Javelins per year instead of the 2,000 now. 

The Javelin production surge comes as Lockheed also ramps up deliveries of Hellfire missiles and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) missiles, as well as introducing the GMLRS-Extended Range and Precision Strike missiles with the U.S. Army next year.

The ramp-up has stressed a supply chain for tactical missiles, which has long struggled with boom-and-bust order cycles by U.S. and foreign militaries. 

Lockheed executives met with many British and European suppliers during the air show, said Paula Hartley, vice president for Lockheed’s Tactical Missiles unit. “I can’t tell you how many suppliers we met with this week,” Hartley said.

Lockheed is particularly looking for sources of propulsion systems and microelectronics. 

“It’s not just about rocket motors,” Flaherty said. “It’s [also about] microchips.”

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.