Expert explains why the West can't quickly ramp up weapons production

Swedish Stridsvagn 122 tanks perform a task during the Aurora 23 exercise in Sweden, May 23

Regardless of the duration of the war in Ukraine, Western countries are focused on increasing the production of military equipment and armaments. This is because many NATO members in Europe have donated a significant part of their arsenals to Ukraine, no longer meeting the accepted NATO standards for armament, explained Stelzenmüller.

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"So even if the war ends tomorrow, we still have large NATO obligations to fulfill," she said, speaking to NV on the sidelines of the Kyiv Security Forum.

Ukraine's allies are interested in the quickest possible end to the war. However, according to Stelzenmüller, the likelihood of that happening in 2023 is less than 50%. This only underscores the need to address the shortage of defense and deterrence tools for Western states.

Read also: US will continue to provide Ukraine with weapons despite attack on Moscow – White House

However, there are barriers to expanding the military-industrial complex (MIC). Specifically, the "just-in-time" approach, which has recently gained popularity among players in the global industry. It allows manufacturers to save on ordering and storing product inventories, flexibly adjusting their supplies depending on demand — delivering them at the very moment they are needed.

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The "just-in-time" philosophy has extended to not only consumer goods production but also armament manufacturing. The only difference, Stelzenmüller notes, is that producing more new iPhones is relatively easy, while producing new tanks is not. Moreover, the defense industry requires guarantees of orders to come.

"So we realized that our [European], as well as the American, military industry is not capable of ramping up production so quickly," stated the expert.

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"And that is a shocking insight."

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