The Pentagon is planning to boost its production of artillery ammunition by 500% over the next two years as the US is depleting its military stockpiles by sending millions of shells to Ukraine, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the US has pledged to send Ukraine over one million 155mm artillery shells. Before the US Army began efforts to increase production, it produced 14,400 155mm shells a month, but under the new plans, the number could reach over 90,000 each month.
According to the Times, an Army report said the plan will involve expanding factories and bringing in new producers in an effort described as “the most aggressive modernization effort in nearly 40 years” of the US military-industrial complex.
The unguided 155mm shells that are fired out of Howitzers include parts produced by several arms manufacturers, including steel bodies made by General Dynamics and explosives mixed by BAE Systems. American Ordnance pours the explosives into the bodies, and several other contractors produce the fuzes that are screwed into the shells.
The US plans to dramatically ramp up ammunition production over the next two years show that the US is expecting to support Ukraine against Russia for years to come, and there is no sign that the fighting will end anytime soon.
What’s not clear is if the policy is sustainable, as US military officials have warned it may be hard to continue arming both the US and Ukraine as the war drags on. Ukrainian forces are estimated to be using about 90,000 rounds of artillery each month, which is more than double what the US and Europe can currently produce.
The US has had to dip into a little-known stockpile of weapons that it keeps in Israel to keep up with Ukraine’s artillery demand. The Pentagon also requested that US forces stationed in South Korea send equipment to Ukraine.