American weapons maker Lockheed Martin is ramping up production of HIMARS rocket system at its Arkansas plant after the weapon's extensive use by Ukraine in the ongoing war increased its demand.
Reuters reported that Lockheed Martin's plant in Camden, Arkansas, is going to boost the production of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) system, following its 'success on the battlefield in Ukraine'.
Orders Pouring in From Other Nations
Ukraine has said the use of HIMARS has helped it repulse the Russian offensive on many fronts, having taken down Russian tank fleet at strategic points in the war. The fanfare HIMARS received in Ukraine has led to orders pouring in from other nations.
"When you have a combat proven system that is out there and in the news - daily - then that's driving that demand," Jennifer McManus, the vice president for operations of Lockheed's missile business, said, according to Reuters.
Interestingly, the report adds that Lockheed had made some investments in the last year to increase capacity at the plant. "Thanks to some investments made over the last year in the 282,000 square foot building where the ground vehicles are made, Lockheed only needs a few upgrades to meet that increased production rate," the report says.
According to the report, Lockheed was producing only 48 HIMARS launchers a year at the plant, but ramped up operations last year -- when the Ukraine war was going on -- to increase capacity to 96 launchers a year.
"On HIMARS specifically, we've already met with our long lead supply chain to plan for increasing production to 96 of these units a year," Lockheed's CEO said in an earnings call.
What Are HIMARS?
According to Lockheed Martin, which makes the HIMARS systems, the weapons is the most technically advanced, affordable and sustainable artillery solution. HIMARS carries a six-pack of GMLRS rockets or one TACMS missile, and is designed to launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. The systems are operated on a wheeled chassis instead of tracks, and it is deployable from C-130 and larger aircraft, providing 'prompt and decisive action in often hard to reach and austere locations,' says Lockheed Martin.
HIMARS missiles have longer range than other artillery systems, a factor that helps Ukraine hit Russian targets far away. In Moscow's eyes, Washington's supply of HIMARS was directly intended to prolong the war and wear Moscow down. The US has committed to send more HIMARS systems to Ukraine as part of its weapons package.