​Javelin ATGM Will Remain in Service For at Least 30 More Years, Become More 'Universal'

Javelin missile launch / Open source illustrative photo
Javelin missile launch / Open source illustrative photo

The anti-tank missile manufacturer is actively modernizing the system, so it could effectively destroy heavy armored equipment in the future and increases production rates in response to the demand caused by the war in Ukraine

The "Javelin" anti-tank guided missile will remain in service with the U.S. Army at least by year 2050, stated in the press release from the Raytheon Missiles & Defense company.

Currently, the enterprise is working on the missile system to meet all the clients’ requests in the long run and is modernizing the weapon accordingly. In particular, Raytheon is currently mass-producing the latest Javelin F-Model variant which boosts increased lethality and commonality across its userbase", with tits "multi-purpose warhead providing versatility to our soldiers for every mission by eliminating the need for different rounds for different targets".

Read more: ​The U.S. Plans Double or Triple HIMARS, GMLRS, ATGM and MPADS Production in a Year
Lightweight Command Launch Unit (LWCLU)

Also, in June the company was awarded a contract for the production of the new Lightweight Command Launch Unit (LWCLU) that has a 30% reduced size and 25% lesser weight. This new launcher in addition has modernized sensors, displays and image processing systems that will allow the operator to "catch" the target even in adverse weather conditions.

The currently used variant of the command launch unit is reusable as well. Once a missile is fired, a new one is attached / Photo credit: Ukrainian Navy

No less importantly, the company is ramping up production rates for the Javelin missiles that have proven effective in the Ukraine war. First in May, then in September 2022, the United States awarded contracts to the Javelin Joint Venture (Raytheon plus Lockheed Martin), so it can replenish the stocks of missiles sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

A batch of Javelin missiles going to Ukraine from the U.S., January 2022 / Photo credit: Oleksii Reznikov on Twitter

The latest September contract was worth $311 mln for production of more than 1,800 Javelins to replenish the reserves of the U.S. Army. When announced, Douglas R. Bush, the Army's assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, told journalists that increasing the production rates was one of the U.S. Army’s priorities, Breaking Defense reports:

"So those efforts are our number one course of action right now that we’re focused on, to provide <...> three things: increased production for supporting Ukraine, replenishing our own stocks, and then setting ourselves up to be able to provide [and] be able to respond to additional allies requests outside of Ukraine," Bush said.

Along with the Javelin missiles, the U.S. is working on bolstering the industrial capacity for the production of 155mm artillery ammunition, Stinger and GMLRS missiles as well as HIMARS artillery systems, as demand has significantly risen since the war started in Ukraine.

Javelin Production at Lockheed Martin
Javelin Production at Lockheed Martin / Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

As for the Javelin, Lockheed Martin would increase the missile production rate beyond the current 2,100 per year to nearly 4,000 per year, as noted in the Raytheon statement.

To increase production to that level, Lockheed Martin will accelerate the production on the manufacturing line and Javelin’s supply chain so it can keep up with the higher rates of production and delivery: hire additional staff, upgrade the equipment used on the line and invest in supply partners.

On the part of Raytheon, the company will ensure that its guidance and control subsystem production for Javelin missiles is operating without interruption and will accelerate their production rates and lower lead times to support demand.

To date, the joint venture of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles and more than 12,000 reusable Command Launch Units. Some over 8,500 Javelin systems were provided to Ukraine, as of October 4, which helped to destroy more than 2548 russian tanks along with other anti-tank weapons given by other allies.

Read more: ​Shoot-and-Scoot in Action: Javelin Strike on a russian Tank Performed by a Highly-Mobile Unit (Viseo)