Lockheed Martin announced 6 September the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles systems in Poland.

The joint venture will be between Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and the partnership responsible for the development of the Javelin Joint Venture (JJV), Raytheon (RTX) and Lockheed Martin. 

Since the outset of the war in Ukraine, the Javelin has been credited with helping to change the course in favour of the resistance against Russia’s heavily-armoured invasive forces. The results speak to the imposition of a heavy cost-exchange ratio, with expensive ‘gilt-edge’ platforms destroyed by relatively low-cost man-portable missile systems. At the end of one year of combat, total equipment losses by Russia totalled 8515 platforms, to Ukraine’s 2613.

The wide success of the Javelin and the reality of increased global tensions have seen a surge in demand for the system that has lead to the possible opening of production in Poland through PGZ, specifically with the intention of supporting inventory demand in Europe into the future. The signing of the MoU is against a backdrop of concern that the production rate of munitions by Nato Allies in the past has not been sufficient to meet the demands of modern peer-to-peer warfare.

“Together with PGZ, we are exploring a number of opportunities to leverage the resident skills and expertise of Polish industry for Javelin co-production,” said Andy Amaro, president of the JJV and Raytheon’s Javelin program director. “With growing demand for Javelin, these new industry partners can play a vital role in supporting the production and delivery of this combat-proven, fire-and-forget weapon system to the global Javelin community.”

Javelin use in Poland

“This partnership will strengthen our relationship with Poland and ensure they have the deterrence capabilities needed to support their national security,” said Dave Pantano, JJV vice president and Lockheed Martin Javelin program director. “The MoU allows us to develop a strategic long-term international partnership with PGZ and create a win-win scenario for both Poland and the U.S. to supply our customers with Javelin’s proven capabilities.”

The Territorial Defence Forces (TDF) of Poland completed Javelin Operator Training in June 2021 and were qualified to maintain and operate Javelin, as well as conduct their own operator training. Following completion, the TDF’s newly trained Javelin operators launched Javelin missiles at Torun, Poland, during a live-fire demonstration.

The Javelin is a shoulder-fired, man-portable, anti-tank weapon that is also capable of being installed on land-platforms. RTX is responsible for the command launch unit, while Lockheed Martin engineer and assemble the missile itself. 

The system is deployable and ready to fire in under 30 seconds with a reload time of less than 20 seconds, with a lock-on-before-launch command that allows the gunner to automatically track the target. 

The fire-and-forget capability allows for the swift manoeuvring of the firing team after the effector has been engaged and before the target has been struck. 

A top down attack mode, when selected against tanks, brings the missile into contact with the vehicle at the point where the armour is at its weakest, where the turret meets the hull, reliably penetrating the roof of the tank. 

The JJV has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles to date, and more than 12,000 reusable Command Launch Units. In March 2020, Poland requested the sale of 180 Javelin Missiles and 79 command launch units from the US for $100m.

Additional reporting by Richard Thomas.