Australia and France will make 155 mm ammo for Ukraine – Technology Org
Due to military aid from the West, Ukraine is slowly switching towards 155 mm artillery, which is NATO standard. The problem is that for a long time NATO lived in peace and ammunition production was a relatively slow business. Ukraine now fires more shells than NATO countries produce. But, hopefully, the production of artillery ammunition can be boosted to fill the gap between the rate of production and the rate of fire.
It is believed that Ukraine fires somewhere between 5 and 7 thousand artillery shells per day. And it is not like they are being wasteful – the front line is just that long and the enemy is that relentless. NATO countries cannot keep up, because ammunition production was dormant for some time.
However, as Le Monde reports, France and Australia will jointly supply Ukraine with 155 mm shells. It is a bit of a joint operation – the French arms supplier Nexter will be producing the ammunition, while Australia will supply the gunpowder.
On one hand, this is great news. It seems like the production of ammo is picking up the pace and may soon be at the desired level. At least there is hope for that. However, Ukrainians are not fully excited about this news, because the planned number of artillery shells will not be that large. They are talking about “several thousands of 155 mm shells”.
Again, Ukraine fires somewhere around 5,000 artillery shells per day. It was also said that this deal has a “multi-million dollar price tag”. But since one shell can cost more than 3 thousand euros (and we’re talking about so-called dumb shells, smart ones cost over a hundred thousand per shell), just 2-3 thousand munitions would cost 6-9 million dollars.
But let’s be more optimistic. While the initial production in this project might be low, at least the systems will be in place. Sebastien Lecornu, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, has commented that the production will be “significant” and he added that such “an effort … will be kept up over time”. The first deliveries from this project are slated for the first quarter of 2023.
Ukraine has made a quick transfer to NATO standard 155 mm ammunition. This was because of the Western military aid. Ukraine now operates a number of different western artillery systems, including American M777 towed howitzer, French CAESAR, Polish Krab and many different artillery guns that rely on 155 mm ammo.
Previously Ukraine used Soviet/Russian 152 mm standard. This means that Ukraine doesn’t actually have its own 155 mm stock or production facilities. However, it is set to change in the future, as Ukraine is producing its own self-propelled howitzer Bohdana and it is a 155 mm artillery piece.
Ukraine needs a lot of ammo, but its production needs to be set up for a long time. The threat of Russian aggression is not going to dissipate any time soon and the West needs to be ready to answer at any time.