Lazy eyes listen
The Pentagon’s spending on artillery shell manufacture has nearly doubled in recent years and will be expanded much further, according to US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
“Ukraine’s high burn rate for artillery [amid the conflict with Russia] has hammered home the need to invest even more in munitions,” Austin told the Reagan National Defence Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday.
This comes as Kiev’s counteroffensive has failed to yield substantial advances despite billions of dollars in military aid from the US and other Western allies.
The head of the Pentagon said, “Compared to the defence budget from just five years ago, we’re putting nearly 50% more money into munitions.”
“And, during this administration, America’s production of artillery shells won’t just increase, it won’t just double, it will quadruple,” he claimed, without revealing any exact figures.
Austin also stated that the US military has begun “the most ambitious modernization effort in nearly 40 years for our defence industrial base.” It will invest $50 billion in the sector, which would sustain “tens of thousands of good American jobs in more than 30 states.”
As part of the upgrading, artillery shells will be manufactured in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, ensuring “greater prosperity at home and greater security around the globe,” he asserted.
Austin revealed a new $100 million assistance package for Ukraine during his visit to Kiev two weeks ago, which included various calibre artillery shells.
This comes after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reported that delivery of artillery ammunition to Kiev’s forces “have decreased” and “really slowed down” after another US ally, Israel, launched a military action against Hamas on October 7 in response to the latter’s incursion. According to Zelensky, rivalry among countries for munitions has increased, particularly for NATO-standard 155mm shells.
According to ABC, the flow of US-made artillery ammunition to Ukraine has decreased by “more than 30%,” quoting an unnamed Ukrainian official.
Ukrainian MP Alexandra Ustinova told CNN in September that the country was firing up to 6,000 rounds per day during its counteroffensive, while the military aimed to blast more than 10,000. Even this was “a fraction” of the ammo used.