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US weapons stockpile 13 years behind in Stinger missile production amid Ukraine war

Airmen of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron prepare pallets of weapons to send to Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mauricio Campino)
March 27, 2023

As the U.S. continues providing Ukraine with billions of dollars in weapons and other aid, concerns have been raised about how best to manage and improve the United States’ domestic stockpile of weapons, which is rapidly dwindling amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

According to the New York Times, it would take the United States 13 years to replace all the stinger misses sent to Ukraine at the current production rate.

Raytheon, the company that makes Javelin missile systems, has even come out and said it would take at least five years at last year’s same production rate to fully replenish the number of missiles sent to the Ukranian battlefield over the previous ten months.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. currently produces roughly 14,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition every month, and Ukraine has reportedly used that amount in only 48 hours of fighting.

READ MORE: Speaker Kevin McCarthy rejects invitation to visit Ukraine by Zelenskyy

According to the Foreign Policy Research Institute, US defense experts Michael Kofman and Rob Lee wrote in December that “ammunition availability might be the single most important factor that determines the course of the war in 2023.”

The US has never seen production shortages on ammunition and missiles like the one it is currently experiencing. Rising tensions between superpowers and global supply chain shortages have exacerbated this concern.

The concerns come after the Biden administration proposed a staggering $842 billion budget for the Pentagon. The record-breaking budget proposal includes $19.2 billion for modernizing facilities “that support readiness improvements.”

According to Business Insider, Kathleen Hicks, the deputy defense secretary, said earlier this month, “When it comes to munitions, make no mistake,” 

“We are buying to the limits of the industrial base even as we are expanding those limits, and we’re continuing to cut through red tape and accelerate timelines,” she added.