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Bloomberg: US in talks with Turkey for more explosives to boost shell production

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 28, 2024 12:06 AM 1 min read
Shells are stored at the workshop of the "Forges de Tarbes," which produces 155mm shells, the munition for French Caesar artillery, in Tarbes, southwestern France, on April 4, 2023. Caesar self-propelled howitzers are being actively used on Ukraine's frontline. (Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
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The U.S. is negotiating to increase purchases of explosives from Turkey to boost the production of artillery shells amid allies' efforts to provide Ukraine with ammunition, Bloomberg reported on March 27, citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter.

Ukraine is facing critical shell shortages, as $60 billion in funding from the U.S. remains stuck in Congress.  Delays in military assistance have already had a direct impact on the battlefield, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka.

Turkish supplies of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and nitroguanidine, which is used as fuel, would be "crucial" in the production of NATO-standard 155 mm shells and could potentially triple production, sources told Bloomberg.

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The production lines of the Turkish defense company Repkon are expected to produce about 30% of all U.S.-made 155 mm artillery ammunition by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

The Pentagon also purchased 116,000 rounds of ammunition from the Turkish company Arca Defense for deliveries this year, with further purchases expected next year, the news agency's sources said.

Unnamed Western officials told Bloomberg that ammunition production in the U.S. and Europe could "significantly increase" in 2025 and the year after as major defense companies and smaller suppliers start to ramp up production.

Russia is producing close to 250,000 artillery munitions monthly, or around 3 million per year, which is nearly three times as many artillery munitions as the U.S. and Europe can send to Ukraine, CNN reported, citing NATO intelligence estimates and unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

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