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NATO official: Protectionist tendencies from Ukraine's allies hindering increase in shell production

by Nate Ostiller October 24, 2023 8:48 PM 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 desire from individual countries to protect their local shell-manufacturing industry has caused prices to rise and hampered the institution of a NATO standard 155mm shell, Chair of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer said to Reuters on Oct. 24.

Bauer has previously stressed that Ukraine's allies are running out of ammunition and that production must increase to keep up with the demand from the battlefield.

However, 14 NATO countries produce their own version of the 155mm shell, which are not used interchangeably. According to Bauer, this lack of standardization is a result of the post-Cold War era, when defense spending across the alliance decreased.

"If you make an artillery round that only fits in the gun that you make, then you force the users to buy your ammunition."

This deficiency in interchangeability has increased the price of individual shells four-fold since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

As old stocks are becoming depleted, Bauer said that it may also be an opportunity to overcome the fragmented production process across NATO.

In turn, this will also help streamline the process of continuing to arm Ukraine with a more interchangeable and coherent arsenal.

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