TechCzech Republic leads 10-country coalition to supply Ukraine with arms

Czech Republic leads 10‑country coalition to supply Ukraine with arms

155 mm caliber shells
155 mm caliber shells
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3:01 PM EDT, March 10, 2024
The Czech ammunition initiative is now backed by 10 countries, including recent additions Lithuania and Luxembourg. Despite an announced total of 65,000 rounds and 410 million euros, the real extent of support could be higher as not all countries have disclosed their contributions.
The ammunition will be sourced from suppliers outside the European Union, aiming to remain neutral in the conflict. South Korea emerges as a potential supplier, though its production might be limited due to agreements with the USA. Turkey, on the other hand, maintains open pathways for defense sector collaboration with Ukraine, showcased by the deployment of Bayraktar TB2 drones.
Greece's strong opposition to using European funds for ammunition purchases outside the EU hints at bifurcations within the union. However, the choice for bilateral cooperation within the coalition seems to streamline the process.
The inventory concentrates on 500,000 units of 155 mm caliber rounds and 300,000 units of 122 mm caliber. Given the immense quantity and an estimated value of 1.5 billion euros, these rounds are basic artillery types with a blunt rear end. Their simplistic design comprises a cast steel body filled with several kilograms of TNT and equipped with a fuse at the tip.
The 155 mm rounds, prevalent among NATO countries, carry 20 to 22 pounds of TNT and demonstrate substantial destructive power. In simpler versions, they can engage targets up to 15 miles away when used with 39 caliber cannon systems like the AS90 howitzer. With 52-caliber cannon systems, such as the Polish Krab, this range extends to 19 miles.
Due to cost considerations, these rounds are not exceptionally precise. At maximum distance, their accuracy spans the size of a soccer field. Ukraine may also receive a more sophisticated variant equipped with a gas generator, extending the range by approximately 30%. Conversely, the performance of the 122 mm rounds, reflecting Soviet legacy, is modest with about 5.5 pounds of explosives, capable of reaching targets up to 9 miles away.
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