How much does ammunition cost? And how much do we need to supply Ukraine? – Technology Org

While everyone is encouraging Western countries to increase weapon and ammunition supplies to Ukraine, it is easy to forget the matter of cost. Weapons of war are exceedingly expensive. The war itself is expensive – we cannot yet imagine how much it will cost to rebuild Ukraine once it celebrates the victory. However, every shot costs so much too.

New artillery shells are being bought for 3.3 thousand euros per unit.

New artillery shells are being bought for 3.3 thousand euros per unit. Image credit: Militaryunit.a2943 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Of course, you can imagine that large advanced weapons are expensive. Leopard 2A7 costs over 27 million euros, but it makes sense – it is one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world. Tracked infantry fighting vehicles cost 10-15 million euros, while smaller wheeled ones cost starting from 5 million per unit. It all depends if the machine is new, what kind of electronic systems are installed, what weapons, etc.

Jet fighters costing 20-40 million euros is also hardly surprising, even though they cost much more to operate for a long time. On the other hand, stealth jets like the F-35 can easily double that price. Meanwhile, ships can cost hundreds of millions, as they are essentially large military bases on water. Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear aircraft carrier costs 13 billion dollars to build. But let’s talk about ammunition.

At the moment when you’re reading this article, Ukraine is bravely defending itself against the ongoing Russian invasion. This war, which soon will reach a one-year mark, is astonishingly expensive. You’ve heard about artillery duels taking place and Ukraine arming itself with Western 155 mm howitzers.

But did you know that most simple 155 mm artillery shells cost 3.3 thousand euros per unit? Sure, Ukraine is using a lot of the old ammunition, but new shells will cost that much. Have in mind that these dumb munitions miss most of the time.

In fact, the way artillery works it usually takes 3-5 shots to get anywhere close to the target. Precision-guided Excalibur shells are way more accurate and Ukraine is using them too, thanks to generous donations from the US and Canada. One Excalibur shell costs 130 thousand dollars.

Precision-guided artillery shell Excalibur costs more than most people's houses.

Precision-guided artillery shell Excalibur costs more than most people’s houses. Image credit: United States Army via Wikimedia

NLAW is an important anti-tank weapon in Ukraine. One shot from it costs around 33 thousand dollars. Javelin has a longer range, but is also somewhere between 80-240 thousand dollars per shot, depending on when you went shopping. Because the price of these weapons is going down as demand grows.

What about the smaller weapons?

Well, an automatic “intermediate” cartridge 7.62×39 (for AK, AKM), which is currently offered by a Macedonian company ATS Group, costs 0.36 euros per round without delivery costs. Machine gun rounds 7.62x54R from the Polish company AMMOGROM cost 0.415 euros per unit. NATO 7.62×51 rounds can cost up to 2.4 euros per round.

But, of course, these are extremes – usually, militaries buy in bulk and can bring this cost way down. Still, in a large war like it’s currently taking place in Ukraine the cost of ammunition is unbelievable.


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