The US Army Is Planning Something Big - 'Dramatic' Increase in Artillery Shell Production Needed


The United States Army is planning to triple the monthly production of artillery shells to make up for ordnance being sent to Ukraine for its defense against the Russian invasion.

At a forum on national defense Saturday, Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, indicated that the service is seeking munitions contractors to significantly ramp up production.

“Funding is already in place, contracts are underway to basically triple 155mm production,” Bush told Defense News in an interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

American weapons assistance to Ukraine has depleted the military’s stockpile of 155mm artillery shells.

Some military experts have expressed fear that the weapons packages have left the U.S. military under-equipped for a potential conflict.

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In a separate interview at the Reagan Defense Forum, according to Politico, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth indicated that the Pentagon is arranging for munitions contractors to increase the monthly production of 155mm shells from 14,000 to 40,000 by 2025.

According to Defense News, the service has recently awarded contracts to three munitions manufacturers: General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, American Ordnance, and IMT Defense.

The artillery pieces that actually fire the 155mm shells have proven difficult to maintain in Ukraine, according to a New York Times report from November.

The United States has provided 142 M777 howitzers to Ukraine, and the weapons have seen extensive use in a prolonged, conventional conflict, the likes of which hasn’t occurred in Europe since World War II.

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The Pentagon’s European Command has set up a program to repair damaged howitzers in Poland, according to the Times.

Ukraine’s military has received more than 1 million shells for the M777 howitzer, according to Defense News.

The United States has even provided Ukraine with M982 “Excalibur” shells, a high-precision variant of the standard 155mm shell, according to Bloomberg.

Bush stated that the United States would be in a position to provide Ukraine with munitions for the “mid and long term” in the event Russia declines to cease its invasion and partial occupation of the country.

“By creating this capacity … if this war goes three or four years, we’ll be in a position to just vastly outproduce the Russians all by ourselves ― and if you combine that with our allies, then we’re just dwarfing their capability,” Bush told Defense News.

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“They won’t be able to keep up.”

Bush indicated that the military’s stocks of artillery shells have been depleted through assistance to Ukraine, but predicted that the Army would eventually have even more of the munitions than it did before the Russian invasion.

“We want to be able to build our stocks not just where we started the war, but higher,” he told Defense News. “We’re posturing for a pretty ― over a period of three years ― a dramatic increase in conventional artillery ammunition production.”

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