(CNSNews.com) – In testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. military “will” have the ability to replace, within a year, all the Javelins and Stingers it is sending to Ukraine.
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Austin, “I think we’ve…roughly provided roughly 5,000 Javelins and 1,400 Stingers. The Javelins, that’s about a third of our stockpile already provided, and the Stingers, about 25 percent of our stockpile. Is it possible to replace a third of our stockpile — or let’s say 50 percent before we’re done here — within — within a year?”
“It certainly is,” Austin said. “It — it’s not only possible, but we were — we will do that. We will never go below our minimum requirement for — for our stockpile, so we will always maintain that capability to — to defend this country and — and support our interests.”
Austin said the $33 billion President Biden is requesting in additional security and humanitarian aid for Ukraine “will enable us to do — to do what you just described, replenish stocks and — and also continue to support Ukraine, but the supplemental funds are — are really focused on that.”
Austin said the extra billions will also help the U.S. “replace some of the capability that we’ve asked our partners and allies to provide.” He noted that some of the “Eastern flank countries early on provided Stingers and other countries provided Javelins, upon our request. And so, it’ll — it’ll help us do that.”
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told Austin that “our missile stockpiles are — are being stretched thin after years of producing at the minimum rate of sustainment…I’m hearing from industry some of the challenges they face. We’re trying to increase production rates while shortening lead times. How critical is it to maintain these stockpiles and in what ways can the committee support you and industry to help ramp up production efforts to meet demand and replenish our stockpiles?” Boozman asked.
“Well, it’s very critical to make sure that we maintain what we consider to be our minimum required stockage levels,” Austin replied:
“And you can rest assured that I will not allow us to go below that in the — in critical munitions. We have met with industry — I think you have saw us do this fairly early on — and encourage them to work with us to — to begin to open up production lines to increase their production.
“And they are doing that. They’re — they’re leaning forward. In some cases a little bit more difficult to do than others, but industry has been very supportive. And — and so we’ll continue to work with them, we’ll continue to identify things that we need if — from you if — if that — if a need arises.
“But to this point, I think we’re — we’re in pretty good shape. And industry is responding.”
Speaking at a Javelin-producing Lockheed Martin plant in Troy, Alabama on Tuesday, President Biden said, “Some of the best, most effective weapons in our arsenal are those Javelin missiles, like the ones manufactured right here in Pike County.
“They’re highly portable. They’re extremely effective against a wide range of armored targets. They can hit targets up to 400 [he meant 4,000] meters away and have a “fire-and-forget” capability. That means the person firing can…change positions or take cover before that Javelin even strikes home and strikes the target,” Biden said.
Austin told the subcommittee that the Russians “don’t have something that approaches the Javelin.”
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