The US has already struck deals with Bulgaria and South Korea to supply the crucial 155-mm artillery shells to Ukraine and is in talks with Japan to do the same, officials told Financial Times.
Ukraine uses 155mm caliber shells for hundreds of western-supplied howitzers deployed all over the frontline. While Ukraine already has several hundred Western artillery units, they became nearly as important as the old Soviet artillery systems in the Ukrainian army.
“I personally sit in my office every morning and spend 30 minutes on 155[mm] ammunition,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month at the Aspen Security Forum. “We are actively working as rapidly as possible to build out the production lines for 155. We do not want to lose a day and there is not a tool, authority or dollar that we’re going to set on the sidelines to not being able to do that.”
Artillery warfare has dominated much of the fighting on the front line, with both Ukraine and Russia firing thousands of shells each day.
“We did not anticipate or prepare for a long war and the industrial base was constrained for efficiency,” said Mark Cancian, senior adviser at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
As was reported earlier, Ukraine has started its own production of Soviet-caliber 152-mm artillery shells to supply its remaining old Soviet artillery systems. The full transition to NATO-standard 155-mm artillery will take at least several years.