A U.S. Marine fires a Javelin anti-tank missile during a Balikatan drill at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, April 13, 2023.

A U.S. Marine fires a Javelin anti-tank missile during a Balikatan drill at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, April 13, 2023. (Bullit Marquez/For Stars and Stripes)

The U.S. military plans to buy up to $7.2 billion worth of Javelin missiles for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and international customers over the next three years, under a contract announced Thursday.

The deal with Javelin Joint Venture — composed of Lockheed Martin of Orlando, Fla., and Raytheon Technologies of Tucson, Ariz. — is for an unspecified number of missile systems from fiscal years 2023 through 2026, according to an Army news release.

“The Javelin Missile System is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance,” the release states. “The system takes a top attack flight profile against armored vehicles, but can execute direct attacks against buildings, close-in targets, targets under obstructions and helicopters.”

The missiles have been proven in combat in Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. and Filipino troops fired Javelins during training in the Philippines last month.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have produced more than 50,000 Javelins, which have been in service since 1996, according to Lockheed Martin’s website.

The United States is running low on ammunition amid the war in Ukraine, James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in an April 30 opinion piece for Bloomberg.

“While the Department of Defense will continue to protect its own war reserves, the excess armament levels — stockpiled for contingencies beyond basic needs of the U.S. war plans — are very low,” he said.

The Army and manufacturers are trying to make and deliver Javelins faster, Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said in the release.

“This contract award further illustrates the urgency the U.S. government is applying to the acquisition of systems and replenishing munitions stockpiles,” he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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