Pentagon asks top 8 US weapons makers to meet on Ukraine: Sources

Russia At War

FILE PHOTO: The Pentagon is seen from the air in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022, more than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight U.S. weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years, two people familiar with the meeting said on Tuesday.

Demand for weapons has shot up after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 spurred U.S. and allied weapons transfers to Ukraine. Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting, the sources told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon’s Office of Acquisition and Sustainment, the weapons buyer for the U.S. Department of Defense, will host the 90-minute meeting and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was expected to attend, one of the people said.

The Pentagon has said that the most useful weapons are smaller systems such as Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which Washington and allies have been shipping to Ukraine on a nearly daily basis.

The intense usage, as well as the battlefield effectiveness displayed by Ukrainian forces, has driven interest in restocking these weapons.

Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin jointly produce Javelins, while Raytheon makes Stingers. Other top weapons makers are Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and L3Harris Technologies.

The White House said last week that it has provided more than $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including more than 5,000 Javelins and more than 1,400 Stingers.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Administration is having weekly meetings of its European Crisis Management Team to review specific requests related to Ukraine.

To speed up U.S. government approval for sales and transfers of arms produced by American defense contractors, the Pentagon has re-established a team to respond to the increased demand.

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