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Biden Pushes Congress to Pass Ukraine Military Aid After Touring Lockheed Martin Facility That Makes Key Javelin Weapon

U.S. Army Sgt. Liane Hatch | U.S. Army
  • President Joe Biden called on Congress to quickly pass $33 billion in additional U.S. security assistance to Ukraine.
  • Biden's remarks followed a tour of the production facility responsible for assembling the Javelin, a portable anti-armor weapon.
  • Since the Kremlin invaded Ukraine, the Javelin has consistently sat on the top of Ukraine's wish list.
  • The Javelin, a "fire-and-forget" anti-tank weapon system, is designed to hit targets nearly 3 miles away and can be launched from the shoulder.
U.S. President Joe Biden tours a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, May 3, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden tours a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, May 3, 2022.

TROY, Alabama — President Joe Biden called on Congress to quickly pass $33 billion in additional U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, as the war-weary country approaches its 10th week of fighting off a Russian invasion.

"I urge the Congress to pass this funding quickly to help Ukraine continue to succeed against Russian aggression, just as they did when they won the battle of Kyiv and to make sure the United States and our allies can replenish our own stock of weapons to replace what we've sent to Ukraine," Biden said.

"This fight is not going to be cheap, but caving to aggression would even be more costly," added Biden, flanked by Javelin missiles at a Lockheed Martin facility in southern Alabama.

Biden's remarks followed a tour of the production facility responsible for assembling the Javelin, a portable anti-armor weapon.

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.

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
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.

"We built the weapons and equipment that help defend freedom and sovereignty in Europe years ago," Biden said, referencing America's industrial war effort during the World War II. "That's true again today."

The Javelin, 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 Troy, Alabama.

It's here in the 50 or so buildings that make up Lockheed Martin's Pike County Operations in Troy where the crown jewels of U.S. missile defense systems are built and bred for battle.

The Javelin, a "fire-and-forget" anti-tank weapon system, is designed to hit targets nearly 3 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 Martin and Raytheon and assembled in Troy.

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.

Last month, Biden requested more funding from Congress after exhausting his presidential drawdown authority.

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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