Lockheed Martin CEO calls for Bipartisan Innovation Act's passage to strengthen US semiconductor industry

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Lockheed Martin President and CEO Jim Taiclet President on Sunday said that passing the Bipartisan Innovation Act was a crucial step toward increasing investment in the semiconductor industry. 

Appearing on CBS News’ "Face the Nation" Sunday, Taiclet said Lockheed was trying to ramp up production of Javelin, Stingers, and advanced cruise missiles in anticipation of the ongoing threat from China and Russia, even after the war in Ukraine ends. 

Critical to defense production is the semiconductor. Each Javelin, for instance, contains more than 200 semiconductors. 

Lockheed Martin president and CEO Jim Taiclet, walks onto stage to speak before President Joe Biden at Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility where Javelin anti-tank missiles are manufactured, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Troy, Ala.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)

"Right now, our capacity is 2,100 Javelin missiles per year," Taiclet told host Margaret Brennan. "We’re endeavoring to take that up to 4,000 per year, and that will take a number of months, maybe even a couple of years to get there because we have to get our supply chain to also crank up." 

Taiclet said it would be "extremely helpful" if Congress passed the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which would, among other things, create more semiconductors domestically rather than relying on Asian suppliers.

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"We do need to invest more in the infrastructure in the U.S. so we have domestic supply, especially in microprocessors," Taiclet said. "Our production line can run today, but in the future we’re going to need more domestic capability … so that we have assured supply of those microprocessors in the future." 

On Friday, President Biden implored Congress to "pass the damn bill and sent it to me." 

"If we do, it’s going to bring down prices, bring home jobs and power America’s manufacturing comeback," Biden said at United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio. "Look, it’s also going to help reduce cost and strengthen our economic and natural security." 

President Joe Biden speaks during tour of the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility where Javelin anti-tank missiles are manufactured, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)

Biden toured the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama last week and said Ukrainian parents are naming their children "Javelin" or "Javelina" because of the weapons' successes.

He credited the assembly line workers at a Javelin missile plant for doing lifesaving work in building the antitank weapons that are being sent to Ukraine to stifle Russia's invasion as he made a pitch for Congress to approve $33 billion so the U.S. can continue to hustle aid to the front lines.

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"You're allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves," Biden told the workers, his podium flanked by Javelin missile launchers and shipping containers. "And, quite frankly, they're making fools of the Russian military in many instances."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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