TROY, Alabama – President Joe Biden on Tuesday blamed workers at the Javelin missile assembly line for life-saving work to build anti-tank weapons sent to Ukraine to stifle The invasion of Russia while he proposed to Congress to approve $ 33 billion so that the United States could continue to direct aid to the front lines.

“You allow the Ukrainians to defend themselves,” Biden told workers, and his podium is surrounded by Javelin missiles and shipping containers. “And, frankly, they make fools of the Russian military in many cases.”

The president toured the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama and said that Ukrainian parents named their children “Javelin” or “Javelina” because of the success of the weapons.

“Every worker in this facility and every American taxpayer is directly contributing to freedom,” Biden said.

The president’s visit also drew attention to growing concerns as the war dragged on: Can the United States keep pace with the supply of huge quantities of weapons to Ukraine while maintaining the healthy supplies it may need if a conflict breaks out with the North? Korea, Iran or elsewhere?

The United States has provided at least 7,000 Javelins, including some transferred during the Trump administration, or about a third of its stockpile, to Ukraine in recent years, according to an analysis by Mark Kansian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. international security. Biden administration says it has since committed to sending 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine the invasion on 24 Feb..

Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about a quarter of its stockpile of Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors last week in a quarterly conversation that his company, which makes the weapons system, will not be able to increase production until next year due to a shortage of parts.

“Could this be a problem?” The short answer is “Probably yes,” said Kansian, a retired Marine colonel and former Specialist in the Pentagon’s Budget and Management Strategy, Military Funding and Procurement Programs.

He added that Stingers and Javelins are the place where “we see the most significant inventory problems” and that the production of both weapons systems has been limited in recent years.

The Russian invasion offers the American and European defense industries a great opportunity to increase profits, as lawmakers from Washington to Warsaw are ready to increase defense spending in response to Russian aggression. However, defense counterparts face the same supply chain challenges and labor shortages faced by other manufacturers, along with some others that are specific to the industry.

Biden noted that each Javelin produced requires 200 computer chips, but semiconductors are in short supply and limit the availability of everything from cars to kitchen appliances. Biden is pushing for legislation to fund the production of computer chips in the United States, although this is a long-term solution to the immediate pressures facing the military, business and consumers.

The war will mean increased sales for some defenders, including Raytheon, which makes Stinger missiles that Ukrainian troops have used to destroy Russian planes. The company is also part of a joint venture with Lockheed Martin, which produces Javelins.

The Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama has the capacity to produce about 2,100 Javelins a year. Biden’s trip overlaps with his demand for an additional $ 33 billion in security and economic aid to Kyiv. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, said Monday that he hoped a quick bipartisan agreement on the security package would be reached so the Senate could begin considering it “next week at the earliest.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday that America’s military readiness does not depend on one system. He said that every time the Pentagon develops a package of weapons and deployment systems in Ukraine, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office assess what the impact will be on readiness.

“It’s not about counting, say, copies and being able to say that when you reach a certain level, all your readiness disappears,” Kirby said. “Javelin is an anti-armor tool, so we value all of this as a conglomeration of our ability to complete this particular set of missions, realizing that Javelin is not the only ability you have against armor.”

The light but deadly Javelin helped the Ukrainians inflict heavy damage on the larger and better-equipped Russian army. As a result, the weapon acquired an almost mythical attitude, celebrated with a song by Javelin and images of Mary Magdalene wearing Javelin, becoming a meme in Ukraine.

Lockheed CEO Martin James Tylett said in a recent interview with CNBC that demand for Javelin and other weapons systems will increase significantly over time due to the Russian invasion. He said the company was working “to strengthen our supply chain”.

“We have the ability to meet current production needs, invest in increased capacity and explore ways to further increase production if necessary,” said a statement from Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

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