Locked and loaded: Lockheed Martin quadruples manufacturing of laser guided missiles

Published March 20th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Visitors queue to have closer look at a static display of a Lockheed Martin F-35 at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 18, 2016. (AFP/Roslam Rahman)
Visitors queue to have closer look at a static display of a Lockheed Martin F-35 at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 18, 2016. (AFP/Roslam Rahman)

The ongoing fight against ISIS [Daesh] has seen demand for missiles skyrocket.  

Lockheed Martin, which supplies the stocks for the United States and allies, has revealed it has quadrupled production of its Paveway II laser-guided bomb, and is boosting manufacturing of its Hellfire missile.

The firm revealed it is constantly expanding factories to keep up. 

The efforts are expected to continue over the next few years, Lockheed vice president says, necessitating the increasing use of these systems by the US, NATO, and Middle Eastern allies.

As the US and allies continue to fight against ISIS, military forces are upping the demand from Lockheed to equip warplanes for 'great-power wars at sea,' Defense One reports.

This is especially apparent with Lockheed's Hellfire missile, which is used by Predator and Reaper drones, along with helicopters and fixed-wing planes.

Last June, the US Army paid $18 million to Lockheed to increase production of this laser-guided weapon from 500 to 650 missiles per month.

'We are seeing a lot of international demand for our product set,' Frank St. John, Lockheed's vice president of tactical missiles, told DefenseOne.

'That's causing us to do a lot of work in international partnerships and co-production and we're very excited about those opportunities.'

The company has also added tools, test equipment, and floor space to production of the Hellfire missiles, according to St. John.

Expanded efforts include 'quadrupled' production capacity at the Lockheed's Archbald, Pennsylvania factory for Paveway II laser-guided bombs.

Lockheed has even begun turning its sights to future wars, and the firm has expanded its Troy, Alabama factory by 60,000 square feet, to build 110 Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles for Navy Super Hornet fighters and Air Force B-1B bombers.

For now, the firm says demand for missiles and bombs will likely remain high, as the ISIS campaign is expected to last for years.

'I don't see events in the world changing dramatically over the next couple of years,' St. John told Defense One.

'The conflicts that are requiring the use of our systems are lingering, so anticipate that we'll be producing at a pretty high level for some period of time.'

By Cheyenne Macdonald


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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