, 2022-09-28 01:21:29,
Ukrainian servicemen fire an M777 howitzer, Kharkiv Region, northeastern Ukraine. This photo cannot be distributed in the Russian Federation.
Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy | Future Publishing | Getty Images
In the U.S. weapons industry, the normal production level for artillery rounds for the 155 millimeter howitzer — a long-range heavy artillery weapon currently used on the battlefields of Ukraine — is about 30,000 rounds per year in peacetime.
The Ukrainian soldiers fighting invading Russian forces go through that amount in roughly two weeks.
That’s according to Dave Des Roches, an associate professor and senior military fellow at the U.S. National Defense University. And he’s worried.
“I’m greatly concerned. Unless we have new production, which takes months to ramp up, we’re not going to have the ability to supply the Ukrainians,” Des Roches told CNBC.
Europe is running low too. “The military stocks of most [European NATO] member states have been, I wouldn’t say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said earlier this month.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held a special meeting of the alliance’s arms directors on Tuesday to discuss ways to refill member nations’ weapons stockpiles.
Military analysts point to a root issue: Western nations have been producing arms at much smaller volumes during peacetime, with governments opting to slim down very expensive manufacturing and only producing weapons as needed. Some of the weapons that are running low are no longer being produced, and highly-skilled labor and experience are required for their production — things that have been in short supply across the U.S. manufacturing sector for years.
A US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) firing salvoes during a military exercise on June 30, 2022. The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that the U.S. will be sending Ukraine another $270 million in security assistance, a package which will include high mobility artillery rocket systems and a significant number of tactical drones.
Fadel Senna | Afp | Getty Images
Indeed, Stoltenberg said during last week’s U.N. General Assembly that NATO members need to re-invest in their industrial bases in the arms sector.
“We are now working with industry to increase production of weapons and ammunition,” Stoltenberg told the New York Times,…
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