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JUNE 2024

US Defence Industry Struggles To Manufacture Basic Artillery For Ukraine

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US Defence Industry Struggles To Manufacture Basic Artillery For Ukraine

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Written by Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

The United States arms industry is not producing the basic ammunition required to sustain support for Ukraine and Israel, Bloomberg reported on June 8. This is an extraordinary situation since Russia’s armed industry is booming despite facing major Western sanctions.

According to the outlet, the US defence industry gave priority to the manufacture of high-tech ammunition and halted the production of basic artillery such as 155-millimetre ammunition, the most used in the wars that are being fought today. The US is also facing a shortage of basic products, such as gunpowder or trinitrotoluene (TNT), to produce these munitions and have had to turn to other countries, such as Poland and Turkey, to obtain supplies.

At some point an attempt was made to replace the 155-millimetre ammunition with higher-tech projectiles on the battlefront in Ukraine, but the effort failed because the new weaponry was neutralised by the Russian military.

“Higher-tech shells that were intended to replace the traditional 155mm munitions failed an early test in Ukraine, when their targeting systems were thwarted by Russia,” Bloomberg reported. “The prospect that future wars could resemble the grinding combat taking place there has stirred fears that the US arsenal could someday be stretched to the breaking point.”

“The writing has been on the wall for a while,” Stacie Pettyjohn, a senior fellow and director of the defense program at the independent and bipartisan Center for a New American Security, told Bloomberg. “It has just taken the war in Ukraine to really shock Pentagon officials and members of Congress out of their complacency.”

Since the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, the Pentagon has divested or neglected facilities once used to manufacture everything from projectiles to gunpowder, focusing instead on transforming warfare with high-tech weaponry.

“What’s left is crumbling infrastructure, outdated machinery and a tiny workforce that can’t keep up with growing international demand,” the outlet highlights.

Before the special military operation in Ukraine, American production was 14,400 shells per month. Now, the US is spending more than $5 billion to overhaul aging factories across the country with the goal of producing 100,000 155mm shells a month by the end of next year.

As the agency stresses, it is a mobilisation that, due to its speed and breadth, is unlike anything since World War II.

As part of this effort, Congress has appropriated $650 million for a TNT production plant that will take two years to build, according to Doug Bush, the Army’s top weapons buyer. And Washington will have to finance purchases of whatever the renovated facilities produce, possibly for many years.

But, as Bloomberg noted, getting the money may also be the easiest obstacle to overcome.

“The US must bring old buildings up to snuff, build new ones, buy updated machinery and hire and train workers. Environmental regulations stand in the way. And the Pentagon will need to ensure that plants can be run safely — munitions-making is prone to fires, explosions and other accidents,” the outlet noted.

Bloomberg concludes, “Boosting munition production is a costly and time-consuming business, and the US is playing catch-up at a time of growing tension in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific region.”

Washington naively believed that the sweeping sanctions against Moscow would collapse the Russian economy and therefore its military operation against the Kiev regime. Instead, Russia not only overcame the sanctions but is now producing artillery shells at a rate that the West cannot keep up with.

It is recalled that Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur admitted in November 2023 that Russia was firing 70,000 rounds a day, meaning that an equivalent of a year’s worth of European production at the time was fired by the Russian military every 10 days. The crippling shortage of artillery was also referred to by Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov in January, who revealed that Ukraine was unable to fire more than 2,000 shells per day.

Due to a severe worldwide shortage of artillery shells, Western analysts admit Ukraine will likely be outgunned by Russia for at least the remainder of the year, but even with Kiev’s allies ramping up production, realistically Russia will hold the advantage for the duration of the war.

Even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said recently there were no reports of artillery shortages, in an interview on May 21 with Reuters, he called on Western allies to speed up aid, saying every decision they’ve made on military support for Ukraine has been “late by around one year.” Even in this most desperate stage of the war, from Kiev’s perspective, Zelensky cannot but be ungrateful and entitled, even when the West struggles to overcome its industrial failures, particularly since Russia’s military industry is a resounding success despite the sanctions.

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Massa John

i call them “the united hippos of america” for no other reason than their attitude over the term “serving”. one the one side they’ve their undermenschen, who become heroes by serving time for their crimes, on the other side there’re those so called “heroes”, coming back from their last tour overseas, meaning carpet-bombing civillians in mostly muslim countries. another term sparks to mindover all this: “vermin”.

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Conan M

and what makes it all the more puzzling is when you read about multi-nationals buying up national parks and resevoirs in north america. the latest was mentioned over the weekend about the navajo in arizona attempting to sell off the colorado water settlement to middle eastern corporations revealnews.org podcat the-great-arizona-water-grab-update-2024.

Saxon

we are medieval incompetent hillbillies—inferior species

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Marvin

what a ridiculous idea to expect the industry to deliver ammunition on top of board seats for generals and politicians, fancy tech that nobody needs and weapons that don’t work all for a measly trillion dollars per year. if we want ammo, we need to pay serious dollars for our military!

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Massa John

the cattle paid over 800 billions for this year, but as the hippos that they are, they couldn’t bring up the speed to deliver anything into be at time.

Massa John

nonetheless, the real hippos are respected creatures with almost 30 miles per hour speed and a look of those is always appreciate.

Last edited 4 days ago by Massa John
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr

“-i’m a son of the american revolution.”

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History's Non-Mysteries

you’re the offspring of irish travelers and grifters.

_TomSawyer_

we will simply tell our eurotard nazi vassals to do this for us, i mean for ukraine. eurotardistan will be trans(hehehe)morphed into a military production camp, while we americans reap the benefits.

guillable clowns 😂😂😂🎪

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Icarus Tanović

i bloody knew it.

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History's Non-Mysteries

do the yanks steal half the funds like the ukrainians do?

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jens holm

amerikan only make bad burger

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jens holm

dane make bad potato

jens holm

i struggle writ ebonics after 274 seizures

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kotromanic

they do their job and produce profit. thats the product. some arms stuff that comms out of the factorys is just coincidence.

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