The White House announced on Wednesday that President Joe Biden will visit one of Alabama's Lockheed Martin Manufacturing plants in Alabama on May 3. That's where Javelin missiles and other anti-tank munitions are manufactured. It is unclear which facility the president will be visiting.

The missiles made at Lockheed Martin are being used by Ukraine to defend itself from the Russian invasion.

The announcement came just days after Biden made a speech in which he addressed the United States’ weapons support to Ukraine. 

“Sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin because we’re sending a lot of those in as well,” Biden said, alluding to the iconic quote of President Theodore Roosevelt.

It was previously announced as a point of pride that military weapons being sent to assist Ukraine were made in Alabama. Gov. Kay Ivey once tweeted that she wanted the last thing Russian President Vladimir Putin to ever read was, “Made in Alabama,” hinting at the missiles being the tool for Putin’s potential future demise. 

We want the last thing Putin ever reads to be “Made in Alabama.”

— Kay Ivey (@kayiveyforgov) March 2, 2022

According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. has already sent over 5,000 Javelins to Ukraine, as well as thousands of other anti-armor systems. Since the Russian invasion, the total support sent to Ukraine has equaled $1.7 billion. 

Some in the strategic military community are concerned about the effect that an excessive supply of military equipment to Ukraine will have on domestic defense strategies. 

The Javelin missile system is a shoulder-fired, auto-guided missile specifically designed for use against armored vehicles. The Javelin automatically guides itself to the target after launch, allowing the shooter to take cover and avoid counterfire. While the Javelin is one of the most effective tools of modern warfare, it does have a lengthy production process. 

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. has sent around one-third of its Javelin supply to Ukraine to be used to counter the Russian military, and it will take years to replenish stocks.

“The United States maintains stocks for a variety of possible global conflicts that may occur against North Korea, Iran or Russia itself," said Mark F. Cancian, Senior Adviser of the International Security Program with CSIS. "At some point, those stocks will get low enough that military planners will question whether the war plans can be executed. The United States is likely approaching that point.”

The CSIS claims that the United States has not published figures about its Javelin inventory, so this must be deduced. But, according to the Army budget books, total production has been 37,739 since production began in 1994.

Javelin production takes time, and production limits make it even more challenging to replenish stocks when current stocks are distributed in foreign aid. 

“The obvious answer is to build more missiles [and launch units, the control box that goes on the missile],” Cancian said. “The United States has been buying Javelins at the rate of about 1,000 a year. The maximum production rate is 6,480 a year, though it would likely take a year or more to reach that level. The delivery time is 32 months; that is, once an order is placed, it will take 32 months before a missile is delivered. This means that it will take about three or four years to replace the missiles that have been delivered so far. If the United States delivers more missiles to Ukraine, this time to replace extends.”

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