Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) said Friday morning that the company intends to advance more than $50 million to small- and mid-sized suppliers to ensure there are no disruptions in the defense contractor’s supply chain.
CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a statement that while the company “will continue to protect the health and safety” of its employees and their families, Lockheed Martin intends to remain operational the best it can. That includes continuing planned recruiting and hiring efforts, even if it means doing so via virtual technology and other social distancing methods.
While much of the national focus has been on commercial aerospace, the Pentagon and its lead contractors are clearly concerned about their supply chains. Many defense suppliers are also key suppliers to Boeing‘s massive commercial aerospace business, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic travel slowdown, and could be under financial duress.
The Pentagon on Monday said it was increasing what it pays as work is done on contracts, saying it was accelerating payments in part so prime contractors could expedite payments to subcontractors. The Defense Department is also working with the Small Business Administration on an emergency loan program for smaller contractors.
Lockheed Martin is also donating use of its corporate aircraft and vehicles to COVID-19 relief and logistics efforts, and providing access to facilities for medical supply storage, distribution, and testing. Hewson said that the company is offering its “engineering and technical capabilities to help solve the most pressing challenges faced by federal, state, and local officials.”
Hewson said that Lockheed Martin is donating $10 million to COVID-19-related relief and assistance efforts, with an emphasis on veteran and military families. The company has also activated a $6.5 million employee disaster relief fund aimed at assisting current workers and retirees.