How Much Money U.S. Army Needs to Scale Up Acquisition and Production of 155mm Ammunition, Pentagon Official Reveals

155mm artillery rounds / Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Army
155mm artillery rounds / Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Army

Currently, the U.S. industries make 28,000 artillery rounds a month, and it's apparent that much more is required

The United States has already sent more than 2 million 155mm artillery rounds to Ukraine and is also providing support to Israel, which is currently engaged in conflict with Hamas militants. The U.S. Army is now seeking additional funding to rapidly replenish its stockpiles.

The Army needs Congress to approve a budget amounting to around $3.1 billion, which is necessary for both purchasing and expanding the production of artillery ammunition. This estimate was voiced out by Douglas R. Bush, the Army Acquisition Executive, on Tuesday, November 7, as reported by Reuters.

Read more: U.S. is Ahead of Schedule to Increase 155mm Ammunition Production

"The funding will expand production lines, strengthen the American economy, and create new jobs," Bush highlighted when talking to reporters. The additional money is being considered as part of U.S. President Joe Biden's separate request for $106 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and other security needs.

The requested funds will be used to upgrade or construct facilities for the production of 155mm artillery ammunition in several states, including Virginia, California, Texas, and Tennessee.

Doug Bush notes that of the $3.1 billion needed for artillery ammunition, half will be used to increase capacity, and the other half is required for the procurement of shells. Additionally, as part of the $106 billion package, finances are allocated for expanding the production of other types of ammunition, particularly missiles for the Patriot air defense system, with production planned to increase from 550 to 650 annually.

Patriot SAM system firing a PAC3-MSE interceptor missile
Patriot SAM system firing a PAC3-MSE interceptor missile / Illustrative photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Speaking of artillery ammunition manufacture in the United States in general, the defense industry has already exceeded its previously approved plan for producing 155mm shells, reaching a rate of 28,000 per month. However, it is evident that making 336,000 ammunition per year is still insufficient. The U.S. Army is actively seeking opportunities for expanding the capacity, with a goal of reaching a rate of 100,000 ammunition per month by 2026.

The issue of speeding up the assembly lines of artillery ammunition is no less important for Europe. Recently, one of the largest ammo manufacturers in the region, the Norwegian company Nammo, called upon the state for investments, otherwise it may take up to 40 years to satisfy the present demand. They urged that European NATO member countries should invest over $6 billion to increase the capacity of artillery shell production.

Live firing of 155mm ammunition from M777 howitzers / Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Read more: One of Europe's Biggest Ammunition Makers Needs 40 Years or External Investment to Keep Up With Demand