As part of its commitment to send millions of shells to Ukraine, the Pentagon is planning to expand the production of artillery ammunition by a staggering 500% over the next two years.
The New York Times reported last week that the increase comes even as the U.S. faces a depleted supply of artillery due to the shipments to Ukraine. From the start of Russia’s military invasion, the federal government promised to provide over one million 155mm artillery shells.
This naturally placed a dire strain on the nation’s stockpiles. Before efforts to ramp up production began, the U.S. Army produced 14,400 155mm shells per month. But the new production goals mean that number may surpass 90,000 each month.
The Time reported that the military is set to embark on “the most aggressive modernization effort in nearly 40 years” to reach its goals. And this is all part of the nation’s unprecedented commitment to assist Ukraine’s defense.
American troops are not fighting in the war between Ukraine and Russia, but unmistakably there is a strong U.S. presence on the ground. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress just before Christmas, he rightfully thanked the nation for its generosity.
The US is readying more than $2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time as well as other munitions and weapons, according to the Reuters news agency.https://t.co/tbWyf2XvyY
— News24 (@News24) February 1, 2023
At that point the U.S. along with Europe and other G7 nations had already sent $93 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid to the war torn country. The U.S. committed another $45 billion just days after the December address.
Needless to say, artillery and ammunition are huge parts of the American commitment.
The unguided 155mm shells are the product of a joint effort that spans several manufacturers. The Pentagon’s push to modernize and rapidly speed production will encompass multiple major players in the defense industry.
General Dynamics produces the steel bodies used in the shells, the explosives are mixed by BAE Systems, and American Ordnance places the explosives into the shell bodies. And it’s up to several other contractors to manufacture the fuses that are then screwed into the shells.
Some experts question the U.S.’s ability to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia while at the same time ensuring that its own defenses are ready for the unexpected. This bears close watching as the European war shows no signs of drawing to a close.