Top U.S. defense officials will meet with the chief executives of the eight largest U.S. defense contractors to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia continues for years. Demand for weapons has shot up after Russia’s invasion on February 24 spurred the US and allied weapons transfers to Ukraine.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told reporters Tuesday she plans to participate in a classified roundtable with defense CEOs on Wednesday to discuss “what can we do to help them, what do they need to generate supply.”
A defense official told Defense News the Pentagon “will convene a meeting of our largest prime contractors, to enable a classified discussion of DoD requirements across broad portfolio areas.”
“We will discuss industry proposals to accelerate production of existing systems and develop new, modernised capabilities critical to the Department’s ongoing security assistance to Ukraine and long-term readiness of US and ally and partner forces,” the official added.
Facing questions about how the U.S. military will replenish stocks of weapons it’s sending to Ukraine to fight Russia, Hicks said she was set to meet with Raytheon Technologies’ chief executive, Gregory Hayes, later on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
Among the companies invited are Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, who together produce the lightweight Javelin anti-tank missile system. Raytheon also makes the portable anti-aircraft Stinger missile system. Pentagon officials say both systems have proven particularly effective for Ukrainian forces in the wake of Russia’s invasion on February 24.
“In some specific munitions areas, we know we have some obsolescence issues,” Hicks said. “But we have seen, very patriotically, members of industry lean forward and indicate their willingness to work together.”