Without More Funds, US Unable to Hit Ammunition Production Goals

Pentagon — The United States will not hit its 155-millimeter artillery shell production goals unless Congress passes the supplemental funding bill that’s currently stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives, officials tell VOA.

Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Ukrainian forces began burning through U.S. stockpiles of 155 mm rounds used in howitzer systems, which the U.S. had provided to Kyiv to help defend its territory and citizens.

To quickly replenish U.S. stockpiles and keep up with demand for shells in Ukraine, the Pentagon set out to expand American production capacity from about 14,000 units per month before Russia’s invasion to 100,000 rounds per month in 2025.

“Without additional supplemental funding, we cannot achieve our goal,” a U.S. Defense Department official told VOA.

Plans to increase production

The U.S. is currently producing approximately 28,000 155 mm rounds per month, with a ramp-up plan to produce 70,000-80,000 rounds per month by the end of 2024, Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen told VOA.

But 155 mm shell production will peak there unless additional funds are provided. A defense official told VOA that would not only prevent aid from flowing to Ukraine but would also impact the United States’ ability to replenish its own stockpiles.

An artillery duel

The U.S. and its allies have sent more than 2 million rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition to Ukraine to help Kyiv repel Russian forces.

Analysts and former officials say howitzer systems have been among the most effective weapons provided to Ukraine. The war has largely become an artillery duel between Ukraine and Russia, with both sides burning through as many as tens of thousands of rounds each week.

The U.S. Army has said it needs Congress to approve about $3 billion more in funds specifically for expanding 155 mm artillery round production to quickly replace stocks depleted by shipments to Ukraine as well as Israel.

The U.S. began sending artillery rounds to Israel following Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7. Israel has vowed to remove Hamas from the Gaza Strip in response to the attack and launched an operation into Gaza that has killed tens of thousands.

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