The US Army is planning a “dramatic” increase in the production of 155mm artillery rounds as the US has sent a staggering amount of ammunition to Ukraine over the past eight months.
According to a Pentagon fact sheet released at the end of November, the US has sent Ukraine 924,000 155mm artillery rounds to Ukraine since February 24. The US currently makes 14,000 155mm rounds each month, but the Army is set to ramp that up.
“Funding is already in place, contracts are underway to basically triple 155mm production,” Doug Bush, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, told Defense News. “There’s funding on the Hill, in the supplemental, to more than double that again. That would take a period of years.”
Bush said that the US wants to increase the amount of ammunition it has to higher than the levels it had before Russia invaded Ukraine. “We want to be able to build our stocks not just where we started the war, but higher. We’re posturing for a pretty ― over a period of three years ― a dramatic increase in conventional artillery ammunition production,” Bush said.
Bush said that the plan will use aid that has already been authorized for Ukraine but will require new funding that’s part of the $37.7 billion aid package the White House has asked Congress to approve.
Congress is also working to include an amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that would give the Pentagon wartime purchasing power to accelerate arms production. Among other things, the authority would allow the Pentagon to offer multi-year contracts for purchases that are typically reserved for larger equipment, such as warplanes and naval vessels.
According to Defense News, the Army has awarded contracts to three private companies to help in the production of 155mm artillery, including General Dynamics, American Ordnance, and IMT Defense.
The US policy of shipping tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine, led by former Raytheon board member Lloyd Austin, has been a boon for defense contractors. Last week, Raytheon was awarded a $1.2 billion contract to produce air defense systems for Ukraine.