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US military opens new factory for 155 mm artillery munitions amid Kyiv's growing demand

by Kateryna Hodunova May 30, 2024 12:56 PM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. The production of 155 mm artillery shells at Nammo, a Finnish-Norwegian-owned defense company in Karlskoga, Sweden, on April 2, 2024. (Olena Zashko / The Kyiv Independent)
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The U.S. Army on May 29 inaugurated the new Universal Artillery Projectile Lines facility in Mesquite, Texas, that will produce 155 mm artillery munitions and is part of Washington's effort to modernize its shell production.

The news also comes as the West seeks to ramp up its artillery production capacities to backfill Ukraine's needs on the battlefield.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine has made a wide-reaching shift to NATO standard 155 mm artillery, as Kyiv's partners had a short supply in stock of Soviet shell calibers like 122 mm and 152 mm.

The recent $61 billion aid package took months to pass through Congress due to political infighting, causing a gap that led to a drastic ammunition shortage for Ukraine.

The Pentagon said previously it aims to reach a production target of 100,000 shells per month by the end of 2025.

Factories in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, together make about 36,000 shells per month, while the new factory in Mesquite will produce 30,000 each month once it reaches its full capacity, according to the New York Times.

The Mesquite factory will add about 350 jobs to the local economy when it reaches its total production capacity next year, company officials said.

As the U.S. aid was stalled in Congress, the responsibility to keep at least some regular flow of ammunition to Ukraine had fallen on European countries.

Czech President Petr Pavel said in February that Prague had identified 500,000 155 mm shells and 300,000 122 mm shells outside Europe that could be bought and sent to Ukraine after the necessary funds were allocated to the initiative.

Several countries have since contributed funds to the Czech initiative, which may help to deliver as many as 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in late March.

According to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, a total of 15 EU countries and NATO have already allocated more than 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 million) for the effort.

PM: First batch of shells under Czech-led initiative may arrive in Ukraine ‘in coming days’
A total of 15 EU countries and NATO have already allocated more than 1.6 billion euros ($1.7 million) for the effort, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.
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