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US factories ramping up weapons production to meet Ukraine demand

President Joe Biden visits Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 20, 2023. (The White House/Released)
February 24, 2023

The U.S. is increasing the production of weapons at some locations that were previously shut down to meet the demands of American military commitments to Ukraine.

According to some reports, Ukrainian military forces are consuming up to 7,000 artillery rounds per day, pushing the need for new supplies.

“One year ago, Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The United States has rallied the world in response, working with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with critical security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and leading unprecedented efforts to impose costs on Russia for its aggression,” a White House fact sheet said on Friday.

“This week, President Biden visited Kyiv, Ukraine and Warsaw, Poland to send a clear and powerful message that the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” it added.

Among the new assistance is additional security efforts. The White House update noted that the package includes a large amount of ammunition for 155mm artillery systems and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced its 32nd security assistance package in response to Russia’s invasion of the former Soviet republic.

A January White House fact sheet reported that the U.S. has already sent over 1 million 155mm rounds to Ukraine in the past year. The number is in addition to numerous other security items, ranging from Stinger missiles to 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition.

“Prior to the war in Ukraine, the U.S. could build about 14,400 155mm artillery shells a month. But as Ukrainian forces burn through the ammunition for howitzers sent to the country, the U.S. is hoping to ramp up production to roughly 90,000 shells a month,” Defense News reported in January.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth separately told reporters that the U.S. will go from making 14,000 155mm shells each month to 20,000 by later this year and 40,000 by 2025.

“We are in a position to support Ukraine, but it’s more the mid and long term,” Doug Bush, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in the report.

 “By creating this capacity … if this war goes three or four years, we’ll be in a position to just vastly outproduce the Russians all by ourselves ― and if you combine that with our allies, then we’re just dwarfing their capability. They won’t be able to keep up,” he added.