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Ukrainian Ammo Plant Makes 20,000 Shell Casings, Aims for 100,000 a Month

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Illustrative photo: 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled artillery system / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Illustrative photo: 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled artillery system / Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Close look into Ukraine's defense industry: how much of production is delegated to private contractors and what obstacles arise

Interesting details about the Ukrainian defense industry can be found in a new article from Associated Press. The reporters walked the rooms of a reopened mortar plant which had to flee the southeastern part of the country, now occupied by russian invasion forces.

Forced to relocate to the safer western areas, the Melitopol Plant of Motor Tractor Spare Parts (MZAtZ) LLC has transitioned its focus to the production of defense items.

Read more: South Korea Has 3.4 Million 105mm Artillery Shells, Everyone Would Benefit if Some Went to Ukraine

According to the owner of the factory, Anatolii Kuzmin, the enterprise has revamped its facilities to churn out 20,000 casings for artillery and mortar rounds monthly, with aspirations to escalate production to 100,000 casings per month. Additionally, the company plans to diversify its portfolio by venturing into the manufacture of engines and warheads for drones.

One notable aspect highlighted in the article is that the ammunition cases produced by MZAtZ are shipped to neighboring countries to be filled with explosives before going back into Ukraine. Kuzmin said he would like to find a production partner to help him establish an explosives plant domestically.

The journalists also touch upon the achievements made by Ukrainian Armor LLC, a private company that made its name producing ammunition and armored vehicles like Novator. As the company's CEO Vladyslav Belbas notes, "We now produce in a month what we used to produce in a year."

Novator APC from Ukrainian Armor LLC / Defense Express / Ukrainian Ammo Plant Makes 20,000 Shell Casings, Aims for 100,000 a Month
Modernized Novator APC with TAVRIA-14.5 remote-controlled weapon station / Photo credit: Ukrainian Armor

According to Associated Press, private enterprises already account for 80% of the total volume of defense production in Ukraine. But there are significant barriers that hold back the development of Ukraine's own weapons production.

Yaroslav Dzera, a manager at one of the armor-making factories, laments how difficult it has become to find and hire qualified personnel, because many workers have been mobilized into the military.

At the same time, bureaucratic hurdles hamper the conclusion of certain defense contracts. Overall, the sector has to deal with a lot of problems, "from keeping up with changing needs of battlefield commanders, to their own vulnerability to long-range Russian missile strikes," AP reporters write.

Nonetheless, the rapid growth is evident, although still not fully capable to meet the demand of the all-out war of attrition against russia. Trevor Taylor, an expert from the British Royal United Services Institute, told the journalists that,

"As impressive as Ukraine’s defense sector transformation has been, the country stands no chance of defeating Russia without massive support from the West."

Illustrative photo: at the workshops of the Ukrainian defense industry / Defense Express / Ukrainian Ammo Plant Makes 20,000 Shell Casings, Aims for 100,000 a Month
Illustrative photo: at the workshops of the Ukrainian defense industry / Photo credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Read more: Reluctance to Finance Additional Ukraine Aid Undermines U.S. Defense Companies: Ammunition Production is the First to Falter