US and Allies Ramp Up Military Support for Ukraine in Face of Growing Demand
As the war in Ukraine continues, the US and its allies are struggling to keep up with the Ukrainian army’s rapidly increasing demand for ammunition. On January 25, President Joe Biden announced that the US would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, followed by Germany’s decision to give its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. In a bid to keep up with the demand, the Pentagon has allocated roughly $3 billion to buy munitions overseas and ramp up production at home.
This includes a Lockheed Martin plant in Camden, Arkansas, cranking out a series of rockets and missiles, including those used by the Army’s Patriot missile system. In addition, the US Army is standing up a new plant in Garland, Texas to make artillery shells, while an existing plant is being expanded in Middletown, Iowa that loads, packs and assembles 155 millimeter shells. The Army also intends to double the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, make roughly 33% more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, and produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
Ukraine is also receiving military aid from other European countries, including France, which has pledged to ship AMX-10 RC light, wheeled tanks. Ukrainian soldiers will need to be trained on how to use and maintain the weapons they receive. While much of the equipment can be delivered quickly, tanks like the Leopard 2 will take longer, as the current delivery time for a new tank is three years, with only two tanks able to arrive each month.
To expedite the process, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has urged countries to make a joint order for new Leopard 2A7 tanks. This could leverage funds from the European Commission, which proposed a €500m fund to assist common defence procurements. Political coordination on all these matters is required, and Berlin should take on this role.
Overall, the US and its allies are having to make difficult decisions when it comes to supplying Ukraine with the necessary weapons and ammunition. As the war continues, this is only likely to become more challenging, as the demand for military supplies continues to grow.
0. “Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. Inside the Pentagon's plan to …” KION, 17 Feb. 2023, https://kion546.com/news/2023/02/16/ukraine-is-burning-through-ammunition-faster-than-the-us-and-nato-can-produce-it-inside-the-pentagons-plan-to-close-the-gap-2
1. “Why the American Tanks Going to Ukraine Run on Gasoline” Yahoo! Voices, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/why-american-tanks-going-ukraine-140000503.html
2. “When will the war in Ukraine end? Experts offer their predictions.” Defense News, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2023/02/13/when-will-the-war-in-ukraine-end-experts-offer-their-predictions
3. “Repair, replace, reimburse: Sustaining a European tank coalition for Ukraine” European Council on Foreign Relations, 13 Feb. 2023, https://ecfr.eu/article/repair-replace-reimburse-sustaining-a-european-tank-coalition-for-ukraine/