TechStrategic US-Greece ammunition deal could boost Ukraine's arsenal

Strategic US‑Greece ammunition deal could boost Ukraine's arsenal

Soldiers of the United States Army transporting 155 mm caliber missiles.
Soldiers of the United States Army transporting 155 mm caliber missiles.
Images source: © US Army

2:27 PM EST, November 29, 2023

The United States is currently in discussions with Greece to acquire ammunition that may subsequently be supplied to Ukraine. This comprises of 155 mm and 203 mm caliber rounds, which are predominantly utilized by the military engaging Russian aggressors.

The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini was the first to uncover the Washington-Athens discussions. According to their research, the negotiations are nearing completion, and the transfer seems imminent. Altogether, there are 75,000 artillery rounds, including 50,000 rounds of 105 mm caliber, 20,000 rounds of 155 mm caliber, and 5,000 rounds of 203 mm caliber.

The 155 mm caliber round is standard ammunition used in NATO weapons. Ukraine has received various artillery systems that use this arsenal, including the Polish self-propelled howitzer Krab, highly favored by the Ukrainians, the German PzH 2000, the Slovak Zuzana 2, and the French CAESARs. The Ukrainians have also chosen the same caliber for their 2S22 Bogdana guns.

The 203 mm caliber rounds could prove beneficial for Ukraine's post-Soviet 2S7 Pion gun. These powerful projectiles, that can weigh up to approximately 220 lbs, allow the elimination of significant enemy targets, including ammunition stores and fortifications. The vehicle is over 42 feet long, weighs around 51 tons and, despite its weight, remains self-propelled and moves on tracks.

The Ekathimerini newspaper points out that Athens appears to be successfully negotiating. It's not just in monetary terms; they hinted that ammunition production could now be more lucrative for Greece.

The United States, noticing that supplies were dwindling rapidly, resolved to expand ammunition production in its factories. From the spring of 2024, the US army is expected to receive approx. 56,000 pieces per month, and from 2025, at least 100,000 pieces per month. The EU also faces issues with key ammunition supplies. A few weeks back, it became apparent that Ukraine would not receive promised support in a timely manner.

For Greece, these ongoing talks could present an opportunity to upgrade its military capabilities. In November of the previous year, the United States requested Athens to discontinue using Russian S-300 and Tor-M1 missile systems so that they could subsequently assist Ukraine. Greece might now be ready, though it is expected that the United States would replace the older systems with Patriot systems.

Greece also influences the fate of an impressive 100 Leopard 1A5 tanks that the Swiss company RUAG purchased from Italy a few years back. Germany proposed buying them and forwarding them to Greece, which in turn would relinquish other machines from its inventory to the frontline. In this way, Swiss neutrality could potentially be bypassed.

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