About $1.45 billion will be spent on improving the production of artillery shells, more than a million of which have been sent to Ukraine.
The US will double its monthly production of 155mm artillery shells to 24,000 before the end of the year and increase it sixfold within five years.
This was stated by the Deputy head of the Pentagon for the ground forces Gabe Camarillo, writes Defense One. According to him, the Pentagon will spend about $1.45 billion to upgrade the production capacity of 155-mm shells in order to support the defense of Ukraine and replenish the US army.
Camarillo added that the army is also ramping up production of Javelin anti-tank missiles and guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS). Specifically, Javelin production will more than double to 330 per month, and launcher production will double to 41 per month.
Installing new production lines, purchasing equipment and providing them with a workforce will cost $349 million, he said.
The US Army will also increase its monthly production of GMLRS missiles from 566 to 1,110 by 2026, Camarillo said. The MLRS missile with a range of more than 70 kilometers has been used to strike Russian troops since arriving in Ukraine in November last year.
Overall, the US is investing more than $2 billion this year in facilities used to manufacture weapons and ammunition. Camarillo said Congress identified and funded the projects in “quick time.” The funds are part of an $18 billion 15-year plan to modernize state-owned arms and ammunition manufacturing facilities.
As DefenseOne notes, it is not yet clear whether the increase in production will be able to meet the needs of Ukraine and the US own needs. According to a study by Mark Kanchian, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the United States has already sent 1,074,000 155-mm projectiles to Ukraine, at a rate of 143,000 per month.
According to Camarillo and Doug Bush, assistant chief of the Pentagon for procurement, logistics and technology, even with planned funding, there remain some tight restrictions on US production. Bush said the shortage of machine tools was holding back ammunition production. “These are cars the size of a building. You can’t buy them in a parking lot,” Bush said.
Weapons production – what is known
Recall that in November last year, the WSJ reported that Western companies are increasing the production of weapons. In particular, Lockheed Martin is doubling the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, which it produces with Raytheon, as well as increasing the production of Himars rocket launchers and GMLRS missiles by 60%.
In January of this year, The New York Times wrote in an article that the United States plans to increase the production of 155-millimeter shells that Ukraine now needs by six times. Their production will increase to 90 thousand per month within two years. Such plans are going to be achieved by expanding the capacity of existing plants, as well as attracting new manufacturers.
And in March, the NYT wrote that large-scale arms deliveries to Ukraine revealed the problem of insufficient production capacity of the American military-industrial complex. Because after the Cold War, the United States, like Europe, got too carried away with the game of cutting military spending. Now the Pentagon is trying to solve the problem of insufficient production volumes against the backdrop of arms supplies to Ukraine and preparations for a possible conflict with China.