The war in Ukraine will prompt governments to refocus on buying conventional weapons, in addition to next-generation high-tech systems, as they reassess global threats, the head of one of the world’s largest defense contractors said.
Greg Hayes, chief executive officer of Raytheon, one of the Pentagon’s five “first” defense contractors, said he expects there to be “a shift in procurement priorities” over the next two years, as governments anticipated Stock up on weapons who were exhausted in the conflict, but also because they are “rethinking what the threat environment is.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US has maintained that the Indo-Pacific region remains its top defense and strategic priority, where sea and air systems are prioritized and land systems are deprioritized. Defense experts now believe a dual approach is required.
“We’re going to need more of these conventional weapon systems to deter Russian aggression,” Hayes said, adding that defense systems like Patriot surface-to-air missiles, anti-missile defense systems and anti-aircraft systems would be needed along the border from Romania to Finland.
“What is that war in Ukraine what has shown is that some of the older technologies that weren’t the focus are actually still viable to defend a country,” Hayes said.
“The entire US national defense strategy has been focused on that for the past 10 years or so [the] Indo-Pacific – how to defend Taiwan? How do you ensure the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea?” he continued. “The other threat was insurgency and terrorism. They weren’t Russians.”
“Shame on us after Crimea — we probably should have understood that was a possibility,” with Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014, but nobody “did really have much faith in her” until Russian troops moved along late last year the Ukrainian border, Hayes added.
According to Mark Cancian, a former Pentagon official now working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, the US was “absolutely strategically surprised because we focused on China and expected Europe to be a less demanding arena would”.
He added that over the years the US had “squeezed out the burst production capacity” for munitions and some key weapon systems needed in Ukraine because maintaining those “production capacities was considered wasteful.”
In May, the US announced an order Raytheon for Stinger rockets for the first time in two decades and bought 1,300 of them for $624 million.
Hayes said the company wants to redesign the missile’s “seeker,” which is kept at very low temperatures so it can sense the heat emitted by its target. A complete redesign of the weapon would take five or six years, instead it would receive upgraded electronics and other technology in its warhead.
Overall, it will take time for the US and other Western governments to respond to the changing geopolitical landscape, while defense contractors deal with widespread problems supply chain issues which are expected to continue for at least the remainder of this year.
Lockheed Martin chief executive Jim Taiclet told analysts during a earnings call on Tuesday that the deterioration in the global security environment “has literally been going on for three or four months. To do that, the Department of Defense has to change gears. And I can tell you the clutch isn’t engaged yet.”
Separately, Hayes, who took charge of Raytheon after merging with United Technologies two years ago, said the deal has already proven to be a success.
The combined group, which includes Raytheon’s defense and missile businesses, engine maker Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace, had “more than $10 billion in revenue opportunities.”
Hayes downplayed the likelihood of a near-term merger between P&W and Britain’s Rolls-Royce. The two companies used to have a joint venture building engines for Airbus, and some sort of combination has long been speculated.
“Certainly with the regulatory environment today, that could never happen,” Hayes said.
However, Pratt and Rolls “will always seek opportunities for collaboration and partnership.”
“Whether it’s a formal partnership like we used to have with IAE [the joint venture]I’m not sure, but we certainly appreciate Rolls’ technical ability in terms of complementing some of the things that Pratt could do.”
However, nothing would likely happen until either Airbus or Boeing launched a new aircraft that would require a new engine. “That’s probably five or ten years away,” Hayes added.
Raytheon chief says Ukraine war will change west’s weapon-buying priorities Source link Raytheon chief says Ukraine war will change west’s weapon-buying priorities