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On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that it will be increasing the production of artillery ammunition by 500% over the next two years due to depleted military stockpiles caused by sending millions of shells to Ukraine.
Due to the Biden administration’s promise to send more than one million 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine, the U.S. army will be forced to increase its production numbers from 14,400 155 mm shells a month to more than 90,000 each month.
According to an Army report, the military will expand factories and contract with new producers to meet the demand. The effort is being described as “the most aggressive modernization effort in nearly 40 years” of the US military-industrial complex.
Multiple arms manufacturers are involved in the production of the 155mm shells that are used as ammunition for Howitzers. The steel bodies for the shells are produced by General Dynamics. BAE Systems mixes the explosives used in the shells, and American Ordnance fills the bodies with the explosives manufactured by BAE Systems. Additional contractors produce the fuses that are eventually screwed into the shells.
While there is no sign of Russia’s war against Ukraine ending anytime soon, the U.S. military drastically increasing ammunition production for the next 2 years is seen as an indicator that the U.S. intends to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia for potentially years to come.
There are concerns that the increased ammunition production is not sustainable long-term. U.S. military officials have indicated that it may be challenging for the U.S. to continue arming both Ukraine’s military and the United States’ military as the war continues. It is estimated that Ukrainian troops are currently using approximately 90,000 artillery rounds each month. That figure is more than double what the U.S. and Europe are currently able to produce.
In its effort to continuously support Ukraine, the U.S. has had to access a little-known stockpile of weapons stored in Israel to meet Ukraine’s demand. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has also requested that U.S. troops stationed in South Korea send equipment to Ukraine as well.