US Army needs extra funds to buy artillery rounds to replace stocks used in Ukraine and Israel 24/11/2023 | Fabio Di Felice

In accordance with a US Army official declaration, then confirmed by Chief Weapons Buyer of the service, Dough Bush, the Army needs Congress to urgently approve $3.1 billion to buy artillery rounds, 155mm specifically, and expand production to quickly replace stockpiles depleted by shipments to Ukraine and, in the recent weeks, to Israel.

Bush, also added that this supplemental funding would go to modernize, or additionally build, 155 mm artillery production and supply facilities across many States including Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and California. This 155 mm specific bid is part of a bigger Biden government request in emergency fiscal 2024 supplemental funding, which should reach a total of $106 billion, and fund expansion of other munitions, including funds to boost the annual production rate of PATRIOT air defense interceptors to 650 from 550.

In accordance with the data available on open sources, the US Army has already sent more than 2 million 155 mm rounds to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022, which requires an average of more than 5.000 rounds per day. This support has led to a frenetic requirement, shared with all the NATO countries, to replenish their relative stockpiles. As confirmed by Bush, the US has also sent artillery rounds to Israel for its fight against Hamas. The US's ambitious plans are to increase their monthly production rate for 155 mm artillery shells from the current 28,000 to 100,000 in 2025.

This will require triple the amount of bulk energetics, consisting of TNT and IMX-104 explosives, as well as primers, fuses, and combustible cartridge cases. The US Defense industry should also come back and reestablish the domestic production of some elements no longer in production in the United States, such as the M6 propellant and TNT, which, as admitted by Bush, have been supplied by allies until now.

The US Army request, as for the rest of Biden government's main one, is currently pending in the hands of the lawmakers in Congress, where the discussions regarding military aid are pretty white-hot these days. Indeed, in the last week, a growing number of House Republicans have opposed any additional Ukraine aid and have instead pushed for a stand-alone $14 billion Israel supplemental.

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