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Biden heads to deep-red Alabama to talk Ukraine, tour missile plant

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will travel to Alabama on Tuesday to tour a Lockheed Martin facility that makes weapons systems the U.S. has sent to Ukraine to help it defend itself against the Russian invasion.

After touring the location, Biden will deliver remarks about the $33 billion funding request he has sent to Congress to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The White House said he also plans to press lawmakers to pass legislation to help the semiconductor industry and boost microchip production.

Biden’s trip diverges from visits he has made across the country recently, which have focused on domestic policy, such as fixing the nation’s transportation systems and infrastructure using funding from the bipartisan bill he signed into law last year.

The missile facility, in the city of Troy, performs the final assembly of a slew of weapons, including Javelin antitank missiles. The White House said Ukrainians have “made extensive use of Javelins,” a shoulder-fired antitank missile that can hit targets up to 2.5 miles away — to effectively fend off Russia, including in their effort to protect the capital, Kyiv.

Over the last 20 years, the Alabama facility, where about 600 people work, has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles. It also puts the finishing touches on air-to-surface missiles and air-to-ground missiles such as the Hellfire.

“Each Javelin missile requires more than 200 semiconductors to make,” the White House said. “Boosting domestic chip manufacturing isn’t just critical to making more in America or lowering prices — it’s also a vital component of our national security.”

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