WASHINGTON: The Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight US weapons manufacturers on Wednesday (Apr 13) 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 US 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 condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon's office of Acquisition and Sustainment, the weapons buyer for the US 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 Corp jointly produce Javelins, while Raytheon makes Stingers. Other top weapons makers are Boeing Co Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and L3Harris Technologies.
The White House said last week that it has provided more than US$1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including over 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 US government approval for sales and transfers of arms produced by American defence contractors, the Pentagon has re-established a team to respond to the increased demand.