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​No Hope for 152mm Shells for russia: iran Has Other Priorities

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Russian artillery men with a Msta-B howitzer ofcaliber 152mm / Open source archive photo
Russian artillery men with a Msta-B howitzer ofcaliber 152mm / Open source archive photo

The only artillery ammunition iran can provide are 122mm shells and rockets, so russia will have to ask for help from China or North Korea

With more and more signals coming that russia is expecting supplies of artillery and other ammunition, Long War Journal, that specializes in the military issues of Africa and Middle East, decided to analyze the options the russian federation has.

The article starts with reference to Sky News reports saying iran sent as many as 100 million ammo of calibers 5.56, 7.62, 9, 12.7 and 14.5 mm; and 300,000 rounds of other types including 40mm rounds for automatic grenade launchers, "107mm anti-tank rockets," 152mm, 130mm and 122mm rockets, and 115mm and 122mm tank ammunition. The analysts are skeptical about this data because, for example, the russians don't use 5.56 mm ammunition and the iranians don't actually produce 115mm rounds for tanks.

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Russian artillery men firing from D-30 howitzer
Russian artillery men firing from D-30 howitzer / Open source illustrative photo

On the other hand, they note that there was indeed an increased activity of vessels cruising from iran to russia and back across the Caspian Sea, thus the part about some transfer of ammunition might have actually been true.

Therefore, LongWar Journal tends to believe the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence claiming russia had initially received a smaller "test batch" of ammunition and was trying to procure at least 20,000 more.

Although even if iran does sell this additional batch of 20,000 artillery rounds, it won't be much of a help to the russian army fighting against the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For starters, that's because the russians are already firing at least 10,000 rounds on a daily basis. So it's only logical that Moscow wants to buy more artillery shells from Tehran.

iranian BM-21 Grad
iranian BM-21 Grad / Open source photo

One of the russian media even stated that there was even an already sealed deal between the Kremlin and iran providing for supply of 100,000 artillery and mortar shells, and there were negotiations over iranian-made 152mm rounds as well. However, this is one of examples of wishful thinking by russian propaganda.

According to The Military Balance 2022, the iranian armed forces have as many as 6,000 artillery systems of various types and calibers but only 30 of them are the D-20 of the 152mm caliber. For that reason, creating large stocks of ammunition in this caliber, just to have an option to share some with the russian federation is definitely not one of iran's priorities.

russian D-20 howitzer
russian D-20 howitzer / Open source archive photo

The armed forces of iran also have about 700 artillery systems in 122mm, including 540 D-30 towed howitzers and 60 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers; and up to 150 MLRS including 100 BM-21 Grad systems. In theory, it should mean that the situation with 122mm rounds is much better and there could be some reserves to share with the russians. But even if it's true, iran is not likely to do so.

The thing is, this country already has a receiver of 122mm rockets with a higher priority – Hezbollah. And another reason is the poor iranian industrial capacity to produce ammunition due to most of the resources being invested into unmanned technologies.

In summary, the authors of Long War Journal write, russia will need to turn to China and North Korea in order to get much needed 152mm caliber and other ammunition.

BM21 Grad of the russian invasion forces
BM-21 Grad of the russian invasion forces in Ukraine / Open source photo
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