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U.S. arms makers strain to meet demand as Mideast conflicts rage
#1
U.S. arms makers strain to meet demand as Mideast conflicts rage

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/12/04/u-...-823399347

Top U.S. arms makers are straining to meet surging demand for precision missiles and other weapons being used in the U.S.-led fight against Daesh and other conflicts in the Middle East, according to senior U.S. officials and industry executives. Global demand for U.S.-made missiles and so-called smart bombs has grown steadily since their use in the first Gulf War. But the United States and a host of allies are now rushing to ensure a stable supply of such weapons for what is expected to be a long fight against Daesh, whose rise has fueled conflict in Syria and across a swathe of the Middle East.

U.S. officials say arms makers have added shifts and hired workers, but they are bumping up against capacity constraints and may need to expand plants or even open new ones to keep weapons flowing. That could create further log-jams at a time when U.S. allies are voicing growing concern that Washington's processing of arms sales orders is too slow. Daesh's deadly attacks in Paris last month have added urgency to the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria. The campaign had resulted in 8,605 strikes at an estimated cost of around $5.2 billion as of Dec. 2. Meanwhile, a Saudi-led coalition including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and backed by Washington is carrying out a nine-month-old military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Gulf states are also supplying U.S.-made arms to rebels fighting Syria's government in that country's four-year-old war.


"It's a huge growth area for us," said one executive with a U.S. weapons maker, who was not authorized to speak publicly. "Everyone in the region is talking about building up supplies for five to ten years. This is going to be a long fight" against Daesh.


The impact is palpable in Troy, Alabama, where Lockheed Martin Corp builds its 100-pound Hellfire air-to-ground missiles at a 3,863-acre highly secured facility surrounded by woods and horse pastures. Realtors are adding staff in anticipation of new hiring at the plant, and the large grocery chain Publix is opening a store soon. "What's good for Lockheed is good for Troy," said Kathleen Sauer, president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, adding that the expansion was helping a local economy where unemployment rates are already among the lowest in the state. "Look at our downtown," she said. "Almost all the stores are open and we have more coming in."


Lockheed has added a third shift at its plant, which employed 325 workers as of February, and is now at "maximum capacity," said one executive familiar with the issue. The company announced in February that it will add 240 workers by 2020 and expand the facility, which also produces a 2,000-pound air-to-surface stealthy missile. Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief arms buyer, told Reuters this week there has been particularly strong demand for the Hellfire missiles. At $60,000 to $100,000 apiece they are inexpensive compared to many missiles and can be launched from everything from aircraft and helicopters and ships to destroy armored vehicles or punch into buildings.


Kendall and other senior U.S. officials told Reuters they are working with Lockheed, Raytheon Co and Boeing Co. to ramp up production of precision munitions and potentially add new capacity. "We are watching that closely. We are looking at the need to increase capacity," Kendall said.

SALES SURGING

Defense shares have performed strongly in recent months on expectations of better results, and many soared after the attacks in Paris. Total U.S. foreign military sales approvals surged 36 percent to $46.6 billion in the year through September 2015 from around $34 billion a year earlier. Approved sales of missiles, smart bombs and other munitions to U.S. allies jumped to an estimated $6 billion in fiscal 2015 from $3.5 billion a year earlier. This year alone, the U.S. government has approved the sale of Hellfires to South Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, France, Italy and Britain. In June, the U.S. Army said it had asked Lockheed to boost production of the Hellfire from 500 per month to 650 by November.


"There are essentially waiting lists for Hellfire. They can't make them fast enough," said one State Department official, who asked not to be identified. Lockheed declined to provide any details about how it is meeting increased demand for Hellfires and other munitions. In addition to approved foreign military sales, many munitions sales are overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department and negotiated directly between countries and companies. U.S. weapons makers do not routinely report such sales, and do not break down revenues by specific weapons.


Also in high demand, Kendall said, are Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, which turn unguided munitions into smart bombs and have been used consistently to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. Last month, the State Department approved a $1.29 billion deal with Saudi Arabia for more than 22,000 JDAMS and other types of precision-guided bombs. Boeing said it boosted the daily production rate of JDAMs at its facility outside St. Louis by 80 percent in July to meet demand from the U.S. military and more than 25 other countries. Raytheon, one of the largest U.S. munitions makers, declined comment on its missile production work. The company has a large missile production facility in Tucson, Arizona, which could potentially boost production, Kendall said.

REACHING CAPACITY

Kendall said U.S. manufacturers had been "very responsive," but some facilities were already reaching maximum capacity and it would take years for firms to make necessary expansions.
He said the U.S. government could potentially chip in to defray the cost of new facilities and tooling, but that would be addressed on a case-by-case basis. It takes time for foreign and U.S. orders to be processed by the U.S. bureaucracy and translate into contracts for companies, but that is now occurring, stretching many facilities to capacity limits, according to industry executives, who were not authorized to speak publicly.


Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, director of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said industry was keeping up with demand thus far but that pressures were mounting. "We are reacting to get it done," Rixey told Reuters. "We're working on purchasing capacity and shifts."
Defense shares have been buoyed by a two-year congressional budget agreement that ensures stable funding for fiscal 2016 and 2017, share buybacks and growing confidence that a revenue trough is nearly over. Raytheon told analysts in October that its missile sales - which account for about 28 percent of overall revenues - jumped 11 percent in the third quarter and looked set for further growth in the fourth quarter.


Lockheed and Boeing do not provide details about their missile sales, but they account for a relatively small - albeit growing - portion of their defense businesses, according to analysts. The long-term increase in demand is also expected to boost revenues for key suppliers such as Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc, which make the propulsion systems for many of the missiles. U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh said the U.S. military had increased its orders in recent years to replenish and expand its stockpiles, but more work was needed. He said Washington was encouraging its allies to do the same. "We all have to be better at pre-planning for munitions, because they're expensive and we don't have an industrial base that can spin up over night and produce them," he said last week after a speech hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.


For U.S. towns and cities that are reliant on the arms industry for growth, the growth is welcome economic news despite the rise in global conflicts. "It's a dangerous world," said Kevin Flowers, who works at Alabama Real Estate Connection in Troy, which he said was adding staff in anticipation of further expansion by Lockheed. "We have to be ready. Better safe than sorry."


**********
I thought this story was a joke when I saw the title. Not meaning to belittle the tragedies that surround people all over the globe, I feel compelled to add a bit of black humor here.

"You mean, straining all the way to the bank!"

At any rate, this seems to be the logical end state for the perpetual "war on terror."
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
Reply
#2
I'm sure they will get by some how. Probably with government subsidies and guarantees. :Violin:
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3
My heart bleeds for them. The constant sound of Ka-ching, Ka-ching as the cash registers gulp sustenance from the yawning coffers of the US government must really upset the poor dears.

Shall we have a whip round for them?
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Reply
#4
In a related development:

Americans stock up on weapons after California shooting

RICH McKAY & DAINA BETH SOLOMONDec 6th 2015 9:09PM

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/12/06/am...-508887837

Reuters) -- At a gun range in Atlanta on Sunday, four days after the deadliest Islamic State-inspired attack on American soil, Brandon Langley practiced firing his AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. "If people were armed, it would have changed the outcome totally," Langley said of Wednesday's assault by a heavily armed husband and wife that killed 14 people and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California. "Instead of 14 victims, there would have been zero, except for those two (attackers)."

Many Americans agree and are stocking up on weapons after the country's worst mass shooting in three years. Gun retailers are reporting surging sales, with customers saying they want to keep handguns and rifles at hand for self-defense in the event of another attack. "Everyone is reporting up, every store, every salesman, every distributor," said Ray Peters, manager of Range, Guns & Safes, a company that sells firearms and safes in Atlanta with an indoor firing range. "People are more aware of the need to protect themselves."

Peters usually carries a pistol with him. But since last week's shooting, he says he's added a Ruger semiautomatic rifle. In a country where more people own more guns than anywhere else in the world, the shooting has reignited a long-running national debate over Americans' constitutional right to bear arms and whether gun ownership should be curbed or expanded as a way to stop even more bloodshed.


A recent spate of mass shootings, capped by Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino, has pushed those issues to the fore in the presidential campaign. Wednesday's shooting follows an attack that killed three on Nov. 27 at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and an Oct. 1 rampage by a gunman who killed 10 at an Oregon college, prompted Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, to renew her call to "stop gun violence now" with new firearm purchase restrictions. Conversely, those who top the polls for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, insist the answer to gun violence is to empower citizens to thwart such attacks by making it easier, not harder, to buy and carry weapon.

******
Personally, I think that having more citizens carrying firearms about is more likely to increase gun casualties in (common) non-mass shooting events, rather than save lives during (rare) mass shooting events. I think of the kids who die each year in firearm related accidents. If some gun owners can't keep their guns safely away from their own kids and prevent accidents, how can more gun owners be expected to safely deploy them on purpose?

Conversely, I believe in and support the Second Amendment.
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
Reply
#5
lag resubmission sorry.
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
Reply
#6
Drew Phipps Wrote:In a related development:

Americans stock up on weapons after California shooting

RICH McKAY & DAINA BETH SOLOMONDec 6th 2015 9:09PM

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/12/06/am...-508887837

Reuters) -- At a gun range in Atlanta on Sunday, four days after the deadliest Islamic State-inspired attack on American soil, Brandon Langley practiced firing his AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. "If people were armed, it would have changed the outcome totally," Langley said of Wednesday's assault by a heavily armed husband and wife that killed 14 people and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California. "Instead of 14 victims, there would have been zero, except for those two (attackers)."

Many Americans agree and are stocking up on weapons after the country's worst mass shooting in three years. Gun retailers are reporting surging sales, with customers saying they want to keep handguns and rifles at hand for self-defense in the event of another attack. "Everyone is reporting up, every store, every salesman, every distributor," said Ray Peters, manager of Range, Guns & Safes, a company that sells firearms and safes in Atlanta with an indoor firing range. "People are more aware of the need to protect themselves."

Peters usually carries a pistol with him. But since last week's shooting, he says he's added a Ruger semiautomatic rifle. In a country where more people own more guns than anywhere else in the world, the shooting has reignited a long-running national debate over Americans' constitutional right to bear arms and whether gun ownership should be curbed or expanded as a way to stop even more bloodshed.


A recent spate of mass shootings, capped by Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino, has pushed those issues to the fore in the presidential campaign. Wednesday's shooting follows an attack that killed three on Nov. 27 at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and an Oct. 1 rampage by a gunman who killed 10 at an Oregon college, prompted Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, to renew her call to "stop gun violence now" with new firearm purchase restrictions. Conversely, those who top the polls for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, insist the answer to gun violence is to empower citizens to thwart such attacks by making it easier, not harder, to buy and carry weapon.

******
Personally, I think that having more citizens carrying firearms about is more likely to increase gun casualties in (common) non-mass shooting events, rather than save lives during (rare) mass shooting events. I think of the kids who die each year in firearm related accidents. If some gun owners can't keep their guns safely away from their own kids and prevent accidents, how can more gun owners be expected to safely deploy them on purpose?

Conversely, I believe in and support the Second Amendment.

Speaking of the 2nd Amendment Drew, do you have any idea which parts of the Constitution are still suspended under COG and which are not? I've not been able to find out?
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Reply
#7
Sorry, I don't have a real answer for that. As far as I know, all of the protections afforded people involved in the criminal justice system by the US Constitution (and my state Texas) are still active; and I rely upon them on an almost daily basis, as do the courts and prosecutors with whom I work.
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
Reply


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