According to a Reuters report published on May 27, 2022, the US Army granted Raytheon a contract valued up to $687 million for Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The move was made to replenish stockpiles that were liberally delivered to Ukraine.
According to Dave DeCamp of Antiwar.com, the US government has sent 1,400 missiles to Ukraine. For perspective, the US Army hasn’t bought Stingers since 2005 due it focusing on building the next generation of shoulder-fired anti-air missiles.
Though as DeCamp noted, “the US policy of sending thousands of Stingers to Ukraine has put the aging weapon in high demand, and Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, stands to make long-term profits on the war.”
The production of Stingers could face some delays. Raytheon CEO Gregy Hayes revealed that the aerospace and defense company may not be able to produce more Stingers until 2023. Per a report by Military Times, due to several components no longer being commercially available, Raytheon may likely have to remake the Stingers’ seeker head.
So far during the Russo-Ukrainian War, the US has also sent 5,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have partnered to design Javelins.
Included in the controversial $40 billion aid package for Ukraine that was recently passed is an $8.7 billion grant to the Pentagon that will assist in replenishing the stockpiles of Javelins, Stingers, and other weapons that are being dumped inside of Ukraine.
DeCamp added that this aid package “provides about $11 billion in presidential drawdown authority, which allows Biden to ship weapons to Ukraine from the US military’s stockpiles.”
Stingers gained international fame during the Soviet-Afghan war when the US government heavily armed the Mujahideen rebels with Stinger missiles and other weapons to stave off Soviet invaders. They were successful in bogging down the Soviets and handing them their own Vietnam-style quagmire in Afghanistan. Fast forward to 2022, US foreign policy leaders want to give Russia its Afghanistan 2.0 in Ukraine.
The problem here is that for Russia the battle in Ukraine is existential in character. So, Russia will do what it takes to ensure victory. Having escalatory dominance helps tremendously here as well. Moreover, Ukraine’s geography does not lend itself to being a viable staging ground for an insurgency like the way Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain was.
In many respects, elites trying to create an Afghanistan redux scenario are coping. They know this is a fight that Russia will win and dumping a bunch of weapons into Ukraine will not only prolong the inevitable but create more bloodshed.
For the first time in a while, the West has met its match. Hopefully, the Russo-Ukrainian War serves as a wakeup call to chicken hawks who are constantly itching for war. There are hard limits to the US’s power abroad, and the quicker the ruling class gets that, the easier it will be to avoid potential foreign policy humiliations abroad.