The United States has now provided Ukraine more than a million turns of howitzer ammunition since it began shipping weapons to the beleaguered nation to aid in its fight against Russia, according to the latest figures from the Defense Ministry.
In total, that’s over 1.09 million rounds that weigh well over 50,000 tons combined, nearly twice as much as the Statue of Liberty.
The rounds are part of more than $18.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration, including about $17.6 billion since the start of the full invasion of Russia on February 24.
The M795 projectile is the standard cartridge for the M777 155mm towed howitzers used by the US Army and US Marine Corps.
It is a 103lb, 155mm high fragmentation (HF1) steel body projectile filled with 23.8lbs of TNT or IMX-101 with a rotating gold metal band for compatibility with all current and future 155mm towed and self-propelled howitzers,” according to its manufacturer. , General dynamics.
The M982 Excalibur is a 155mm round that uses GPS and inertial guidance to find its target while extending the range at which it can hit.
To use the guided round, troops input location data into the gun guidance unit which downloads it into the projectile before firing it down. More complex bursts can also be programmed. You can read more about these towers here.
The RAAMS is a 155mm artillery shell that contains nine individual anti-tank mines that are dropped along part of the terminal phase of the shell’s flight path. These shells can be used to quickly place minefields to complicate the movement of enemy armored vehicles.
Although the introduction of several launch rocket systems like the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and the M31 227mm Guided Rockets to fire have given Ukraine an extended reach on the battlefield, howitzers have been and remain absolutely essential and a mainstay of its combat.
While the United States has provided 20 HIMARS to Ukraine and another 18 pledged – M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) capable of firing the same shells have also been donated by NATO allies – they have supplied 142 M777A2 towed howitzers and 36 105 mm howitzers. Other nations also contributed howitzers.
With so many standard howitzer rounds being shipped to Ukraine, there is growing concern over whether there will be enough ammunition for the United States if it enters a major conflict itself.
In August, the the wall street journal reported that the military was currently conducting “a deep dive into the munitions industrial base” to determine how to support Ukraine while protecting “our own supply needs.”
The army, the Log reported, said he also asked Capitol Hill for $500 million a year to upgrade army munitions factories.
“Meanwhile, the service is relying on existing contracts to increase ammunition production, but it has not signed new contracts to account for the higher amounts it will need to replenish its stocks, officials said. of the Army.”
In fiscal year 2023, the military planned to purchase only 29,000 of the base explosive rounds (M795), according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). “Peak capacity was 288,000 projectiles per year, but with a 48 month lead time,” CSIS wrote last month.
The good news for Ukraine is that the United States is not the only country supplying Ukraine with howitzers and associated munitions. And the United States and its allies have now held six meetings of the Defense Contact Group, some 50 countries working together to provide weapons to Ukraine while ensuring that their own supplies are sufficient given the possibility of an extension of the war in Europe and the outbreak of hostilities with China. . Even Pakistan has been leveraged to supply artillery shells to Ukraine, all of which you can read about in this latest article.
“Because it is NATO standard ammunition, a dozen countries can supply these projectiles,” CSIS wrote. “Therefore, transfers to Ukraine are unlikely to be restricted when considering the global market.”
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