Russia Outpaces US and Europe in Artillery Munitions Production Amid Ukraine Conflict

As tensions heat up in Eastern Europe, attention is shifting to the ammunition factories that are working non-stop to keep up with the demands of the Russia-Ukraine war.

by Faruk Imamovic
Russia Outpaces US and Europe in Artillery Munitions Production Amid Ukraine Conflict
© Getty Images

As tensions heat up in Eastern Europe, attention is shifting to the ammunition factories that are working non-stop to keep up with the demands of the Russia-Ukraine war. Reports from NATO shared with CNN show that Russia is set to massively outdo both the US and Europe when it comes to making artillery munitions, which are really important in this fight.

Russia is making about 250,000 of these munitions every month, which adds up to around 3 million a year. This is a lot more compared to what the US and Europe can do together—they only manage about 1.2 million munitions a year.

This huge difference in how many munitions each side can make is becoming a big deal as everyone braces for another big move from Russia later this year. In any modern war, having enough artillery munitions is super important.

They’re essential for long fights across large areas because they let you hit the enemy from far away, mess up their plans, and break through their defenses.

The Challenges of Ramp-Up and Supply

Even though the US military has set some pretty big goals, they're running into trouble trying to make 100,000 artillery rounds a month by the end of 2025.

A high-ranking Army person pointed out that this goal, which is already less than half of what Russia makes in a month, is looking really hard to reach. To make things even tougher, there's a $60 billion fund meant to help Ukraine that's stuck in Congress.

This shows just how hard it is to quickly increase how many munitions we're making, especially when the conflict keeps changing. The situation right now really shows why we need to catch up. Russia is shooting around 10,000 shells every day, while Ukraine can only manage about 2,000.

This big difference is not just a problem for Ukraine's military strategies but also shows the big challenge the US and Europe are facing in trying to help Ukraine defend itself.

A Production War and Its Implications

Right now, we're in what you could call a "production war," where the success of each side depends a lot on how well they can keep their troops stocked with the right gear and bullets.

Instead of just focusing on who's winning on the ground, there's a big spotlight on the factories and supply lines that are keeping the war machine running. Russia is going all out, keeping their munitions factories running day and night and hiring more people to make sure they can keep producing a lot of artillery.

On the other hand, the US and Europe are trying to speed up their own production and deal with the tricky world of international politics and funding, especially when it comes to helping Ukraine. They've even announced plans to open new bullet factories in Ukraine and some ally countries, showing they know how critical it is to get more ammunition made.

But, ramping up production isn't instant; they've got to work through challenges like how long it takes to get factories running at full speed, making sure they've got all the parts they need, and dealing with the big picture of international relations.

Munitions Factory© Getty Images/David Becker

The Mobilization of Russia's Economy

Russia has really put its munitions production into overdrive, keeping its artillery factories going non-stop and hiring a lot more people to work in defense.

They're also getting extra supplies from friends like Iran and North Korea, which helps them make even more ammunition. This shows how serious Russia is about the fight and how they're using their connections with other countries to make sure they don't run out of ammo.

Now, making weapons and ammunition has become the biggest part of Russia's economy, even bigger than the oil business. They've decided to focus a lot on being ready for a long fight, even though this could cause some problems for their economy later on.

But for now, they're all about making sure they can produce more weapons than the West and keep their troops well-supplied.

Western Challenges and Strategic Responses

On the other hand, the US and Europe are finding it tricky to ramp up their ammo production.

They're dealing with a bunch of challenges, like the complicated process of getting things moving in a capitalist economy, not to mention roadblocks in getting the necessary funds approved by lawmakers. Even with big goals, the US military is struggling to catch up to Russia's numbers.

To try and fix this gap, there's a big move towards opening new factories, like a German defense company's plan to set up a munitions factory right in Ukraine. These steps are about more than just making more bullets; they're aimed at making Ukraine more capable of standing on its own and strengthening the whole defense game of Western countries.

By focusing on the long haul, using the latest tech, and aiming for high-quality weapons, the West is hoping to make up for not having as many munitions as Russia.

The Geopolitical Dimension of Production Warfare

The huge gap in how many munitions each side can make isn't just about the fight itself; it's also a big deal on the world stage.

Being able to keep up with the demands of war shows how strong and influential a country is. The fact that the West is scrambling to make more ammo really points out the struggles that democracies have when they need to quickly get their economies ready for a crisis.

Also, this whole situation with making munitions isn't just about Ukraine. It's really about which countries can show they're the top dogs by having strong industries and military power. How this all plays out could change who the world sees as the most powerful countries, shake up alliances, and affect how countries deal with each other from now on.

Russia Europe Ukraine