As Russia continues to sow instability in the region, intensifying the war in Ukraine, Lockheed Martin announced ramping up production of M142 HIMARs multiple rocket launchers, which are in high demand in Ukraine and across Europe.
Citing CEO Jim Taiclet’s call with investors, Politico reported on Tuesday that the US-based company will reportedly make more rocket launchers to be sent to Kyiv as the US promised to send more weapons to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. According to the report, the company is poised to boost HIMARs (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) production to 96 launchers annually, up from its current level of 60 launchers the order for dozens HIMARs made by Ukraine, Poland, and Estonia.
Lockheed Martin is also considering expanding its plant in Camden, Arkansas, with Taiclet adding that they’re cross-training their skilled workforce across a bunch of product lines due to increased demand for HIMARs and guided M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System).
Washington has so far delivered 20 HIMARs – the most advanced weapons the US has supplied Kyiv- to Ukraine with another four announced this month as part of the latest $625 million military aid package. Allowing troops to carry out high-precision strikes on targets such as bridges and ammunition depots behind enemy lines, HIMARs have had an outsized effect on the battlefield since the summer, allowing Ukrainian forces to reach behind Russian front lines in the Donbas and around Kherson.
However, Lockheed Martin will need months to ramp up production from five to eight systems a month, which may not be fast enough for Ukraine, Estonia, and Poland which, instead, decided this week to buy 300 multiple-rocket launchers Chunmoo built by South Korea’s Hanwha.
Poland will get Korean launchers in 2023 while the 500 HIMARs it was seeking would’ve not begun to arrive for years.