Pentagon increases ammunition production by 500% to support war in Ukraine

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The US Department of Defense is promoting a plan to increase shell production by 500% within two years to make up for the shortfall in ammunition reduced by the war in Ukraine.

On the 24th (local time), the New York Times (NYT), citing a report from the US Army, reported that the US Department of Defense is investing billions of dollars to increase production of conventional ammunition.

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The report described it as “the most aggressive modernization effort in nearly 40 years” for the US defense industry base. The NYT noted that it was “a level of production not seen since the Korean War (June 25).”

The Pentagon has so far supported the war with a handful of expensive, precision-guided weapons, but Ukraine is said to be relying heavily on howitzers for much of its attacks.

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Before the start of the war in Ukraine, the US Army was able to produce 14,400 unguided shells (such as howitzers) per month. But later, to support Ukrainian forces, the Pentagon tripled its production target in September last year, and then doubled it again in January, eventually making it capable of making more than 90,000 shells a month.

Ukrainian and Russian forces fired thousands of howitzers each day, and such attacks are likely the number one cause of deaths, the NYT reported. The United States estimates that more than 100,000 casualties have occurred in both countries.

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The ammunition sent by the United States to Ukraine included not only 155mm artillery shells for howitzers, but also guided rockets for HIMARS (multiple launch rocket system) launchers, thousands of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, and more than 100 million small arms.

The Pentagon will spend about $1 billion annually over the next 15 years as part of efforts to fund shell manufacturing facilities, increase automation, improve worker safety, and expedite the manufacture of munitions. In August of last year, Congress allocated $1.9 billion to the Army for this purpose.

So far, the US has sent more than 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine, as well as other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and non-NATO allies. The serving size was not disclosed.

The Pentagon also declined to comment on the size of its stockpile of 155mm shells. However, it said that it will support Ukraine’s demand in real time through planned production increase and replenish existing inventory.

Source: Donga

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