Boots & Sabers

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2059, 23 Apr 23

Army Can’t Keep Up with Munitions for Ukraine

It would be one thing if Ukraine was paying for this, but they are not. We are. There’s a lot to digest in this story.

The Scranton Army Ammunition Plant is at the vanguard of a multibillion-dollar Pentagon plan to modernize and accelerate its production of ammunition and equipment not only to support Ukraine, but to be ready for a potential conflict with China.


But it is one of just two sites in the U.S. that make the steel bodies for the critical 155 mm howitzer rounds that the U.S. is rushing to Ukraine to help in its grinding fight to repel the Russian invasion in the largest-scale war in Europe since World War II.


The invasion of Ukraine revealed that the U.S. stockpile of 155 mm shells and those of European allies were unprepared to support a major and ongoing conventional land war, sending them scrambling to bolster production. The dwindling supply has alarmed U.S. military planners, and the Army now plans to spend billions on munitions plants around the country in what it calls its most significant transformation in 40 years.




The Army is spending about $1.5 billion to ramp up production of 155 mm rounds from 14,000 a month before Russia invaded Ukraine to over 85,000 a month by 2028, U.S. Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo told a symposium last month.


Already, the U.S. military has given Ukraine more than 1.5 million rounds of 155 mm ammunition, according to Army figures.


But even with higher near-term production rates, the U.S. cannot replenish its stockpile or catch up to the usage pace in Ukraine, where officials estimate that the Ukrainian military is firing 6,000 to 8,000 shells per day. In other words, two days’ worth of shells fired by Ukraine equates to the United States’ monthly pre-war production figure.




The factory — built for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad just after 1900, when the city was a rising coal and railroad powerhouse — has produced large-caliber ammunition for the military going back to the Korean War.


But the buildings are on the National Historic Registry of Historic Places, limiting how the Army can alter the structures.


2059, 23 April 2023


  1. Merlin

    Let’s hope we’ve not turned over any Excaliber rounds to Ukraine without, uh, direct supervision. Those are $80k a pop. Actual battlefield testing of cutting edge tech has substantially greater value than simulations or lab environment testing can ever provide. Better to know what does and doesn’t actually work before you try to sling it at China.

    If the Pentagon has been emptying the shelves by shipping the oldest unguided munitions first, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. NATO seems to be doing much the same. The war in Ukraine is not a high tech event, so just how geared up do you want to get producing legacy tech not primary to your own needs? It isn’t like Ukraine is cutting purchase orders for any of this stuff, but it is giving the Pentagon new purchasing power.

  2. dad29

    but it is giving the Pentagon new purchasing power.

    Yah, but the Pentagon loves to fight last century’s wars, too. They act as though economic and/or Fourth-Gen war doesn’t exist–but that’s what the ChiComs are using, along with a heavy dose of treason from the Bai-Den crime family.

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