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Ukraine - Ammunition Industry

Arming, feeding and supplying armies is a monumental task. The most burdensome supplies of ammunition. For Ukraine, this task was complicated by Russian long-range means of fire damage, aimed at the Ukrainian military industry and transport networks throughout the depths of the country. The Russian military also suffers from attacks from abroad and acts of sabotage, but on a smaller scale. The rate of use of ammunition and equipment in Ukraine can only be supported by a large-scale industrial base.

Ammunition and projectiles were mostly inherited by the Ukrainian army from the Soviet army, but there was also a problem with them. During the years of independence, military warehouses were repeatedly bombed, the causes of which are still being investigated. Different versions are considered - from official negligence to deliberate arson and enemy sabotage. As a result of fires at the arsenals in Novobohdanivka, Ichna, Kalynivka, Balaklia and other places, the army lost a huge amount of ammunition worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

From 2004 to 2018, under the conventional weapons destruction program, the United States hads already invested more than $40 million in Ukraine's solution to the problem of a large number of conventional weapons and ammunition inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2018, the United States funded the destruction or demilitarization of over 1,700 tons of old Soviet-made ammunition in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense, according to the information of "Mirror of the Week", "evaluates as critical the provision of the army with ammunition of caliber 7.62 mm for sniper rifles, caliber 12.7 for machine guns DShK and NSVT, large calibers from 23 to 152 mm for artillery systems, grenade launcher shots of all types and calibers". As a result of the occupation of Crimea and part of Donbas, Ukraine lost the production of explosives, gunpowder, cartridges, shells and detonators. "From the time of the anti-terrorist operation, the Donetsk State Plant of Chemical Products and the Chemical State Association named after G. Petrovskyi.

Accordingly, the possibility of equipping anti-tank guided missiles was completely lost, ammunition of medium and large artillery calibers, combat parts of aerial bombs and their repair, ballistic powder for high-precision missiles, grenade launcher shots and multiple rocket systems. It would be possible to develop similar production at the operating enterprises of the defense industry in the shortest possible time, provided appropriate financing", if, according to the information of "Mirror of the Week", "former Prime Minister A. Yatsenyuk did not "cut off" with a stroke of a pen in early January 2015 such an initiative".

"In fact, because of this resolution, we have already lost two and a half years to create a closed cycle of capacities for the production of ammunition and components for them". However, recently, judging by media reports, the situation with the supply of the latest anti-terrorist weapons to the domestic Armed Forces, including ammunition for them, is gradually improving.

Plans to create in Ukraine, in cooperation with Western allies, a new ammunition production to replace the lost capacities of the Luhansk Cartridge Plant and the Donetsk State Chemical Products Plant were announced following the Ukraine-NATO summit in June 2014 in Brussels. Based on the results of negotiations on cooperation held by Ukroboronprom in 2014-2015 with well-known Western ammunition manufacturers, more than 10 options for organizing new production were prepared and submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers for consideration. As noted in the state concern, the timing of the implementation of partnership plans depends on the provision of funding.

The memorandum on cooperation in the field of defense, signed in April 2017 by the military departments of Ukraine and Canada, stipulates, among other things, the intentions of the parties to cooperate in the development and production of defense products, and is considered the basis for transferring bilateral military-technical cooperation to a new level.

President Petro Poroshenko in July announced plans to build a new ammunition plant in Ukraine according to NATO standards. The decision of the National Security and Defense Council on additional financing of the security and defense sector in 2017, fixed by presidential decree No. 183/2017 of July 11, provides for the allocation of UAH 1.4 billion for the purchase and production of ammunition through the special fund at the expense of special confiscation funds.

In 2022, Russia was trying to capture the south and east of the country, while at the same time it did not abandon its goal of capturing Kyiv and destroying Ukrainian statehood. The Russian army exceeded the Ukrainian one in long-range artillery, armored vehicles and the use of aviation. The Russians also have an uninterrupted supply of Soviet-era ammunition, which they used to destroy peaceful settlements. Ukrainian stocks of weapons and ammunition of the Soviet era were running out, so weapons, ammunition and military equipment of NATO standards were needed to replace them.

To eliminate the shortage of ammunition, there are only two options: buy them abroad or set up your own production. The second option is much more promising, and Ukroboronprom is leaning towards it. In particular, it was announced that the state concern will invest 300 million hryvnias in the production of domestic ammunition in 2021.

Currently, the production of ammunition as a domestic military industry is at the stage of formation. State and private enterprises are working successfully: Kyiv-based "Artem" and Nizhyn-based "Progres" and "Tochnist" established the production of guided weapons, the Stiletto company - cartridges for small arms, and the private corporation "Tasko" - artillery shells of various calibers. The range of ammunition is constantly expanding, and production technologies are being improved. The production of some types of modern means of destruction is carried out by Ukrainian enterprises in "co-authorship" with foreign partners. Thus, together with Polish gunsmiths, they established the production of high-precision artillery shells with laser homing. This technology reduces the time required to hit a target by 15-20 times, and reduces the number of projectiles used by ten times.

However, "bottlenecks" were also identified in the domestic ammunition industry: there is a lack of brass wire for the manufacture of cartridges of all calibers, and there is a lack of high-quality gunpowder for the production of explosive devices. There is also a problem of providing defense industries with special chemicals.

Some Ukrainian enterprises began producing 152-millimeter artillery ammunition, but only shells, without powder charges, were produced. There were not enough of them, and the production of 155-millimeter shells, although it began at one of the defense plants, has now been suspended due to a full-scale war. A new cartridge factory was not built in Ukraine, as promised several times after 2014 - the old production of cartridges was located in Luhansk and captured by Russia. Currently, certain batches of ammunition are manufactured by one of the Ukrainian manufacturers - 7.62 and 9 millimeter cartridges within the framework of the state defense order.

Sumy Oblast did not have time to completely slow down the work of defense industry enterprises in Shostka. In the region, it is called the city of gunsmiths, because there are as many as three enterprises included in the Ukroboronprom concern: the Impuls, Zirka and the State Research Institute of Chemical Products.

The latter specialized in the development of recipes for explosives and powders and carried out work on the disposal of obsolete ammunition. In the 2000s, this trend became dominant. In July 2016, the press service of the concern "Ukroboronprom" informed that over the past three years, the Shostkin Research Institute disposed of more than 5,000 tons of ammunition. But more urgent defense work was also carried out: with the beginning of the war in Donbas, the Shostkin Institute of Chemical Products, together with the Kyiv Design Bureau "Luch", developed a methodology for extending the shelf life of anti-tank guided missiles and 100-millimeter rounds at anti-aircraft systems.

The next mass-produced 155-mm high-explosive high-explosive projectile with increased range. In addition, tests of the B-429 artillery blaster are ending. This was announced September 17, 2018 by the chairman of the board of Artem DAHK Anton Karpenko in an exclusive interview with the director of the Defense Express information and consulting company Serhiy Zgurtsyu. Testing of the HE-ER (High-Explosive Extended-Range) 155-mm artillery projectile will begin shortly. "This ammunition will be tested in sync with the Bogdana project. That is, "Bohdana" is already undergoing testing, and we will supply the necessary samples of ammunition. Both regular ones, purchased from NATO, and produced by us, for a full cycle of tests," said Anton Karpenko.

Next, tests will be conducted and mass production of the most massive and cheap 155-mm ammunition - type M107 will be mastered. "It is the cheapest of all that can be produced for "Bohdana" and it will also be produced, because its efficiency in terms of "price-quality" is quite high, and it is also needed," said the head of the "Artem" DAHK.

The chairman of the board of DAHK "Artem" announced that together with KP "Shostkinsky state-owned plant "Impuls" the testing of the B-429 artillery blaster is ending, after which its serial production will be established. In general, the program for the development of the ammunition industry provides for all "end-to-end" technologies - the production of projectiles, cartridges, gunpowder, explosives, equipment, and even range equipment. All this is clearly defined in terms of time and priority, and since the military had an immediate need for shells, the program was built in such a way as to start with them.

There are no exact data on the consumption of ammunition in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Neither government publishes data, but Russia's munitions expenditure can be calculated from official data on fire missions provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense during daily briefings. With four guns per battery and four shells per gun, the barrel artillery fires about 6,240 rounds per day.

The annual production of US artillery rounds will be enough in the best case for only 10 days that is, two weeks of hostilities in Ukraine. If the preliminary estimate of the number of shells fired by Russia is underestimated by 50%, then the supplied artillery will last only three weeks.

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Page last modified: 22-04-2023 18:37:45 ZULU