Europe struggles to keep up with ammunition production for Ukraine

By Defence Industry Europe

Since the onset of the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine, it has become apparent that such armed conflicts lead to massive ammunition consumption, particularly in artillery. Unfortunately, the situation regarding ammunition production in Europe is not promising.


The European Commission had announced plans to allocate about 500 million EUR to support ammunition production from 2023 to 2025. As early as March 2023, it was assumed that significant funds (up to 2 billion euros) from the so-called European Peace Facility could be earmarked for ammunition for Ukraine, in addition to these funds. However, member states long debated whether and to what extent ammunition with components from outside the EU could be funded. Furthermore, the German conglomerate Rheinmetall reported that it had received contracts to deliver several hundred thousand pieces of mortar and artillery ammunition of 120 mm and 155 mm calibers, for both the Bundeswehr and the Ukrainian army.




It must be acknowledged that resuming large-scale production of military equipment and ammunition takes time. The issue is not just about production lines but also finding additional sub-suppliers for the components needed for ammunition production. For example, in the non-EU United Kingdom, increasing the production capacity of 155 mm artillery ammunition to the targeted “eightfold higher” level is expected to last until 2025.



These challenges are not limited to ammunition but extend to military equipment in general. Orders are too small for the industry to expand its production capabilities, reserves are lacking, and, seemingly, there is a lack of political will to change this situation. While EU actions in the realm of ammunition might yield results around the turn of 2024 and 2025, the outlook for improvement in armored vehicles and other equipment appears much more distant.



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