Lockheed Martin’s mobile rocket launcher plant in Camden, Arkansas, is preparing to ramp up production of the HIMARS system after its battlefield success in Ukraine spurred demand from other nations, group executives said Monday.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is now a widely recognized weapon after footage from the Ukraine war captured by mobile phone cameras showed the launchers in action.
“When you have a combat-proven system that’s in action and in the news every day, that’s driving that huge demand,” said Jennifer McManus, Lockheed’s vice president of missile business operations.
Lockheed Martin makes the HIMARS and refits an older version in Camden, a small town southwest of Little Rock.
Thanks to some investments made in the past year in the 282,000-square-foot building where the ground vehicles are manufactured, Lockheed only needs a few upgrades to meet that increased production rate, Lockheed executives said.
The list includes a paint booth, anti-slip coating mixer, tire mounting manipulator arm, and axle installation track; executives told Reuters.
In an earnings call with investors, the Lockheed CEO said, “specifically with respect to the HIMARS, we have already met with our longstanding supply chain to plan to increase production to 96 of these units per year. .” Lockheed started 2022 with a HIMARS launcher production rate of 48 but has since increased to 60 a year.
Poland was authorized in February to buy 18 HIMARS launchers and 468 launcher magazine kits that can be fitted to Polish-made trucks to convert them into similar launch platforms. A Lockheed spokesperson told Reuters that talks for this deal began in 2017.