TechPortugal joins Czech-led effort to boost Ukraine's ammunition supply

Portugal joins Czech-led effort to boost Ukraine's ammunition supply

155mm caliber artillery shells.
155mm caliber artillery shells.
Images source: © Military

4:49 PM EDT, March 15, 2024

Portugal has become part of a Czech-led initiative aimed at quickly procuring artillery ammunition for Ukraine, a move that, when combined with financial contributions from other nations, will facilitate the acquisition of over 1 million rounds of ammunition from suppliers outside the EU. Here's a breakdown of the purchases in detail.

With a pledged amount of 100 million euros, Portugal’s decision to join the Czech initiative significantly boosts the effort to supply Ukraine with the urgently needed artillery rounds. Remarkably, the collective funds have already secured the immediate procurement of 800,000 rounds, with additional financing available for further orders slated for delivery at a later time.

This initiative gains further importance against the backdrop of the current logistical challenges faced by the US, shifting the responsibility of equipping Ukraine with adequate ammunition onto European nations. These countries are now stepping up to expand their production capabilities, a scale of increase in demand unseen since the Cold War at its height.

NATO and post-Soviet caliber ammunition en route to Ukraine from an undisclosed source

Ukraine is slated to receive an influx of ammunition in the coming weeks, including 500,000 rounds of 155mm NATO caliber and 300,000 rounds of 122mm post-Soviet caliber. Given Ukraine's daily expenditure rate of between 5,000 and 8,000 rounds, this supply is expected to last a considerable period.

The incoming ammunition predominantly consists of the most basic and widely used shells, equipped with either a base bleed or a gas generator to extend firing range by up to 30 percent. These shells are typically made from steel, packed with roughly 20 to 22 pounds of TNT, and fitted with a fuse at the tip.

For the 155mm caliber shells, this amount of TNT confers significant destructive capability. In standard models, they can hit targets up to 15 miles away when fired from artillery systems with a barrel length of 39 calibers, like the AS90 howitzer. For systems with a longer barrel of 52 calibers, which can impart higher velocity to the shell such as the H77BW Archer, the range can extend to about 19 miles.

However, due to cost limitations, these shells are not known for their precision. Their accuracy at maximum range is sufficient to cover an area the size of a soccer field. On the other hand, the 122mm caliber shells, derived from post-Soviet stocks, pack around 5.5 pounds of explosives and have a shorter effective range of just over 9 miles.

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