Biden heads to Alabama facility where Lockheed is making key Javelin weapon for Ukraine

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A serviceman of Ukrainian military forces holds a FGM-148 Javelin, an American-made portable anti-tank missile, at a checkpoint, where they hold a position near Kharkiv, on March 23, 2022.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

TROY, Alabama — One of the most effective U.S. weapons in Ukraine’s fight against Russia comes from an unlikely place: a 4,000-acre compound nestled in the quiet woods of a southern Alabama town.

In the 50 or so buildings that make up Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations in Troy, Alabama, the crown jewels of U.S. missile defense systems are built and bred for battle.

President Joe Biden is slated to tour the facility responsible for assembling the Javelin, a portable anti-armor weapon, on Tuesday afternoon. Since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine, the Javelin has consistently sat on the top of Ukraine’s wish list. To date, the U.S. and its allies have transferred 5,500 Javelins to the Ukrainian government.

While in Troy, Biden will deliver remarks on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine thus far and will reiterate his request to Congress for more funding. Biden is seeking $33 billion in additional assistance.

The Javelin, a “fire-and-forget” anti-tank weapon system, is designed to hit targets nearly three miles away and can be launched from the shoulder. Throughout the conflict, Ukrainian forces have used the Javelin system to strike Russian tanks and artillery.

The system is co-manufactured by Lockheed and Raytheon and assembled in Troy.

Infantry Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fire an FGM-148 Javelin during a combined arms live fire exercise in Jordan on August 27, 2019, in support of Eager Lion.
U.S. Army Sgt. Liane Hatch | U.S. Army

For the first time in 2019, the defense titan opened to the media its heavily guarded compound in Troy, where it has quietly assembled 190,000 missiles. Those include America’s THAAD, or terminal high altitude area defense system, the JASSM, or joint air to surface standoff missile, along with Hellfire missiles and the Javelin.

The process to open up the facility took more than a year of security approvals and was conditional that no photography or recording devices could enter the complex.

In Troy, the Javelin missile comes to life in a windowless facility with slick floors, high ceilings and neatly organized bins of electronic cables. It’s where more than 50,000 classified missiles were assembled and tested over the last 20 years before joining the U.S. military’s colossal arsenal.

Biden’s latest military aid package of $800 million announced on April 21, the eighth such installment of security assistance, brings U.S. commitment to $3.4 billion since Russia’s late February invasion.

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