US Army eyes sixfold production boost of 155mm shells used in Ukraine
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army will boost production of 155mm artillery shells more than sixfold to 85,000 a month by fiscal 2028, according to the service’s undersecretary.
The goal is to replenish ammunition going to Ukraine in large numbers to aid its fight against Russia and to ensure the service has the right levels in its own stockpiles, Gabe Camarillo said March 28.
The Army is spending $1.45 billion on capacity “to expand 155mm artillery production from 14,000 a month to over 24,000 later this year,” and 85,000 in five years, Camarillo said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Partly to aid in the ramp-up, the Army has bolstered the strategy for its organic industrial base with plans to invest $18 billion over 15 years. Originally, the service wanted $16 billion to modernize the base, according to Marion Whicker of U.S. Army Materiel Command.
Now, in FY23 alone, the Army will inject $2.5 billion into modernizing the organic industrial base, mostly through supplemental funding provided by Congress to replenish stockpiles, she noted.
To dramatically increase capacity that quickly, “you need additional production lines,” Army acquisition chief Doug Bush told reporters at the Global Force event.
The Army makes artillery shells at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Pennsylvania as well as a General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems facility nearby in Wilkes Barre. It fills them at a government facility in Iowa.
The Army is under contract to build another facility with a company in Canada, and is standing up yet another with the General Dynamics unit in Garland, Texas, to make additional shell bodies. Iowa is expanding its capability, and there is some production expansion into Kansas, Bush noted.
“It’s not all in one place,” he said. “It’s literally building new factories and putting advanced machine tools in them. That’s really the only way to do it.”
The Army is investing $349 million to more than double its monthly production of launchers to 41 a month and 330 missiles per month, Camarillo said. Production for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems will increase from 566 rockets per month to more than 1,100 by FY26.