As the war in the Ukraine enters its second year, Zelensky’s troops face a serious problem. They’re burning ammunition faster than the United States and its NATO allies can produce. For this reason, the European Union is going to give priority to the joint purchase of ammunition and howitzers in particular.
It is about Ukraine being able to respond to the new Russian offensive, which remains focused on Bakhmut. The EU Defense Ministers, meeting these days in Stockholm, have begun to pave the way for a decision that leaders ultimately have to make at the summit this month.
Only 30% of the Ukrainian arsenal of howitzers are 155mm guns, the standard among NATO countries
As we have already told in 20 minutes, the idea is that the EU quickly facilitates the shipment of 155-mm howitzers to kyiv, medium and long-range artillery. According to many analysts, without these howitzers Ukraine would have already lost the war. It is a projectile -also manufactured in Spain- that, according to Infodefensethe Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought from oblivion.
155mm, a new NATO standard for kyiv
According to the account that the military analyst Volodimir Dacenko made in december only 30% of the Ukrainian howitzer arsenal are 155-millimeter caliber guns, the standard among NATO countries. This type of ammunition is actually new for Ukraine, which had never used it before the Russian invasion.
So kyiv does not have many 155-mm shells and relies on its Alliance partners to sustain its artillery operations on the front. Also, you need more of this ammo because the number of shells being used far exceeds the number being made.
Ukraine uses about 90,000 artillery rounds a month, while the US and its European allies produce about half
According to Defense Expresscurrently Ukraine uses about 90,000 artillery rounds a monthwhile the US and its European allies produce roughly half.
How are the 155mm
These types of howitzers, fundamental now in the development of warfare, are metal warheads weighing several kilos that carry explosive material inside. those who owns Spain, which also manufactures themThey are howitzers weighing about 13 kilos.
155-millimeter shells are used in artillery systems to break the enemy lines.
How much does a 155mm howitzer cost?
A 155mm howitzer costs considerably more today than before February 24, 2022. With the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its price has risen a lot: from about 2,000 euros per unit to more than 3,000 at the moment.
With the war in Ukraine, the price of each 155 mm projectile has gone from about 2,000 euros to more than 3,000
An example is the sale announced by manufacturer Rheinmetall and from which realize Defense Express. This is a contract with an unidentified European customer for the acquisition of 155mm L15 shells. According to the official announcement, the deal was closed in December and covers the supply of 10,000 shells.
The value of the announced agreement amounts to about 33 million euros. That is, each projectile of this contract costs 3,300 euros. possibly this contract is carried out in the Spanish company Expal Systemswhich Rheinmetall bought for 1.2 billion euros in November.
In any case, the price of 3,300 euros per 155mm shell is quite different from the prices of the years 2020 and 2021, when the market price it was about 2,000 euros per unit. That’s good news for gun manufacturers.
Reserves are running out: we need to manufacture more
But the reserves of Zelensky’s allies are not infinite and these countries are using their imagination to find 155mm howitzers. According to technology.orgpart of this ammunition is supplied to Ukraine from Israel and South Korea, two US allies.
The Western defense industry will have to increase production of this ammunition and do it now
just like that about 300,000 projectiles have arrived from Israel, representing about a third of all 155mm ammunition transferred to the Ukrainian Army from Washington. Thousands of shells have also moved from South Korea, through other countries.
Many NATO countries maintained their own stocks of 155 ammunition at a level close to the minimum meeting the Alliance standard, and the United States alone has already provided more than a million artillery shells to Ukraine, according to Defense Express. The consequence is that the Western defense industry will have to increase production of this ammunition and do it now.
Until now, until this war context, the contractors that supply the US Armed Forces produced close to 15,000 shells each month. Now him Pentagon want to reach 90,000 a month.