WASHINGTON, May 3 – President Joe Biden headed to Alabama on Tuesday to visit the Lockheed Martin Co (LMT.N) base that builds the anti-tank Javelin arrow, and to expose a weapon that has helped Ukraine fight the Russian invasion.
Biden will use the trip to pressure Congress to approve its proposed $ 33 billion aid to Ukraine, which includes more than $ 20 billion in military aid, White House correspondent Jen Psaki said on Monday.
Biden “will remind the people of the country why we are fighting, why we are supporting the people of Ukraine in this war, the kind of equipment and the kind of assistance we provide from the United States …. it is urgent to get this support to the end,” he said.
Assistance to Ukraine has not been the subject of a general dispute between legislators. But $ 20 billion is a big jump and any legal proposal could be a victim of political divisions in Washington. Biden, a Democrat, has been visiting the country for decades to support candidates for the Republican presidential election to avoid that result.
The United States has pumped $ 3.4 billion worth of weapons into Ukraine since Russia attacked on February 24 which included Howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, Javelins, ammunition and body armor.
Demand for Javelin’s arrows remains high as the war breaks out near Kyiv, where it is used to stop Russian tanks moving to the capital, to an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
To date the United States has sent more than 5,500 Javelin programs to Ukraine, the Pentagon said. According to a Sunday report by Ukrainian officials, 1,026 Russian tanks were destroyed.
“They are openly asking,” Jim Taiclet, chief executive of Lockheed, said of Ukraine’s intentions at the Atlantic Council meeting on Friday. The company is trying to increase production capacity in its area Troy, Alabama and elsewhere, he said.
Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) and Lockheed jointly produced the Javelins, while Raytheon performed the Stingers.
Lockheed said its Troy facility employs 600, helps make five types of missiles and is the only final assembly facility for the Javelin system, capable of producing 2,100 per year.
Lockheed has been investing to strengthen Javelin production, and may use his funds to accelerate the contracts of subcontractors. But supply chain concerns make it difficult for any climbs.
The Pentagon monitors a number of these US weapons and their components daily.