Graphic: US Department of Defense
Quartz: This chart explains why the US is running low on missiles
American defense contractors can’t keep pace as Ukraine drains stockpile.
It’s boom times for US defense contractors—and they can’t keep up with demand.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s military build-up have US lawmakers shelling out billions to buy new missiles, aircraft, tanks and helicopters to support allies and prepare for future conflict. Including the most recent tranche of funding passed in December, Congress has enacted about $110 billion in aid to Ukraine, about $40 billion of which will go toward weapons transfers and purchases.
That’s putting stress on the makers of modern weaponry. Consider that some 1,600 Stinger missiles, used by individual soldiers to attack aircraft, were sent to Ukraine from American stockpiles, but the US stopped making them in 2003. Raytheon, its manufacturer, has restarted production, but doesn’t expect to deliver the weapons in large numbers for a year or more.
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WNU Editor: It is very telling that in the 1990s there were 51 major US defense contractors. And today there are only 5.