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Europe allocates more resources to artillery production in support of Ukraine.

| Defense News Army 2024

On Friday, March 15, 2024, the European Commission revealed a significant $544 million initiative aimed at boosting artillery production to support Ukraine amidst its ongoing conflict with Russian invasion forces. This financial commitment addresses the urgent need for more ammunition for Ukraine, which faces challenges due to some American Congress members obstructing military aid legislation.
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PZH 2000 German 155 mm Self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source: Lithuanian MoD)

Named the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), the initiative seeks to significantly enhance Europe's artillery production capabilities. The European Commission has set a goal to achieve an annual production capacity of 2 million projectiles by the end of 2025, highlighting the pressing necessity to replenish Ukraine's ammunition reserves amidst hindrances from certain Republican legislators in the US.

ASAP focuses on five key areas of ammunition production: explosives, powder shells, missiles, testing, and reconditioning certification. Financial allocations include approximately $270 million for powder shell production and $135 million for explosives manufacturing. This effort is envisioned as a collaborative one across multiple European countries, projecting a $1.5 billion investment into the supply chain to accelerate production.

By January 2024, due to prior efforts, Europe's production capacity for 155mm shells had already reached 1 million per year, indicating the continent's growing ability to support Ukraine's defense needs against the Russian invasion.

In comparison, the United States is also expanding its artillery shell production capacity, with an ambitious target of producing 100,000 155mm artillery shells per month by 2025. This is part of a major initiative to increase production capacity in response to heightened needs, particularly to support Ukraine. Currently, the US Army manufactures 30,000 155mm rounds per month, an increase from the pre-conflict output of 14,000 rounds per month. Plans are in place to further boost this capacity by constructing and commissioning new production facilities.

The European Union's ASAP initiative aims for an annual production capacity of 2 million munitions by the end of 2025, following a substantial investment announced to augment artillery and munitions production in response to Ukraine's urgent needs. The EU's current production capacity, specifically for 155mm shells, had already reached 1 million per year by January 2024, demonstrating a significant commitment to supporting Ukraine's defense efforts against the Russian invasion.

The notable difference between the US and the European Union lies in the scale of the planned increase in production capacity and the timeline to achieve these goals. While the US targets a massive monthly capacity of 100,000 shells, the EU is working to double its annual capacity, showcasing different approaches to meet the ammunition demand.

In related developments, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday a $300 million military aid package for Ukraine, primarily sourced from current US stockpiles. Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the importance of increased support for Ukraine from allied nations, urging them to demonstrate political determination and expedite their assistance to meet Ukraine's needs in its struggle against Russian aggression.


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