Lockheed increases production of HIMARS missiles after Ukraine success

BETHESDA, Maryland: Lockheed Martin executives have announced that its mobile rocket launcher plant in Camden, Arkansas, is preparing to increase production of its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known by the initials HIMARS.

The move comes after the success of HIMARS in Ukraine, which increased demand from other nations and made it a widely recognized weapon.

"When you have a combat proven system that is out there and in the news, daily, then that is driving that demand," said Jennifer McManus, vice president for operations of Lockheed’s missile business, as quoted by Reuters.

Lockheed executives told Reuters that investments made over the last year in their 282,000-square foot plant means that Lockheed only needs to make a few upgrades to meet increased production demands.

Meanwhile, in an earnings call with investors, Lockheed’s CEO said, "On HIMARS specifically, we have already met with our long lead supply chain to plan for increasing production to 96 of these units per year."

After beginning with a HIMARS production rate of 48 launch platforms per year in 2022, Lockheed has since increased this figure to 60 annually.

Even before its success in Ukraine, HIMARS launchers had been growing in popularity.

A Lockheed spokesperson said that talks began for an agreement with Poland in 2017. In February this year, Poland’s request to buy 18 HIMARS launchers and 468 launcher loader kits, which can be installed on Polish-made trucks to turn them into similar launch platforms, was approved.