France begins supplying Ukraine with 3,000 155mm shells monthly

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In a bold move, Paris is set to triple its monthly provision of 155mm shells to Ukraine from the start of 2024. Currently, the monthly shipment sits at 1,000 artillery shells. 

Photo credit: Naver

“At the year’s inception, we were dispatching 1,000 munitions monthly to Ukraine. However, the dawn of next year should see an upward revision to 3,000 units,” announced Sébastien Lecorneau, the French Armed Forces Minister. These enlightening remarks were made during his comprehensive interview with the renowned newspaper, Le Progres. 

Lecorneau further illuminated France’s commitment to the Ukrainian cause by revealing that they had trained approximately 6,000 Ukrainian servicemen, with a significant emphasis on ground combat strategies.

Photo credit: Rheinmetall

Recovery of SPHs

The French Defense Minister has recently asserted that the 18 Caesar self-propelled howitzers, which were devoted to assisting Ukraine since the onset of their conflict, are set to undergo restoration and subsequently strengthen the French artillery. 

In an interview with Le Progres, Sebastien Lecorneau, the French Minister of Armed Forces, revealed that 18 new 155-mm self-propelled artillery units Caesar is scheduled to arrive for the French forces in 2024. These units aim to substitute those that had been dispatched to Ukraine. 

Photo credit: Twitter

Lecorneau remarked that the production rate of Caesar’s self-propelled guns has seen an uptick since the conflict in Ukraine commenced. “Our manufacturing efforts have increased from two to four units per month to six, and we project to produce eight units by 2024,” he stated. 

Moreover, he asserted that this amplified production will not only cater to our export commitments but also enable us to recover the expenditure of the 18 artillery installations sent to Ukraine by 2024. He also noted that the maiden self-propelled guns are scheduled to land for the French forces this month.

What else did France give to Ukraine?

Photo credit: Mezha.media

In a significant move, France has transported Caesar self-propelled guns and Crotale anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. This shipment also included armored vehicles and AMX-10 RC light-wheeled tanks, providing a significant boost to Kyiv’s military resources. 

Furthermore, over the preceding war-stricken months, France has been a stalwart supporter of Ukraine, furnishing it with a diverse array of weaponry. This includes Milan anti-tank missiles, Mistral man-portable air-defense systems, and the Franco-Italian SAMP/T, commonly referred to as Mamba, air defense systems.

Rising prices

How much the tripling of the supply of 155mm shells to Ukraine will cost French taxpayers and leadership remains unclear. But, along the lines of the Spanish-German production of this type of projectile, the price has tripled, as we reported earlier in the month.

Photo credit: Twitter

Rheinmetall, a titan in the realm of German defense, recently disclosed the awarding of another contract by the German government. This contract concerns the manufacture of artillery ammunition. 

According to the contract terms, production includes over 100,000 pieces of 155-mm ammunition, conducted through Expal, a company Rheinmetall took over from Spain in November 2022. 

The company’s announcement regarding the contract placed particular emphasis on the “over 100,000” units. Furthermore, it highlighted the DM121 – a recent development whose production only began in 2017. 

Photo: Defense Here

‘Million Euro’ range

By the close of 2022, around 62,000 rounds of such ammunition have been produced. The Bundeswehr had to pay 3.4 thousand euros for each piece as stipulated in their 2019 contract, marking the innovative product’s cost.  

The newly released contract information provides some insight into 155mm ammunition’s current cost. Rheinmetall indicated a figure in the “high hundred million euro” range.  

Such figures suggest that the current contract could involve an estimated cost of approximately 500 million euros for 100,000 155-mm ammunition pieces. Even a conservative estimate of 400 million euros for the 100,000 shells would infer a cost of €4,000 per shell. 

Photo credit: The Diplomat

Rapidly escalating trend

Interestingly, this figure not only overshadows the benchmark prices before full-scale operations commenced but also prices after February 24, 2022. To illustrate, Rheinmetall struck an agreement in December 2022 for 10,000 155-mm L15 ammunition pieces with an undisclosed country, at a rate of 3.3 thousand euros per unit. 

This analysis suggests a rapidly escalating trend in the cost of artillery shells. This upward spiral is anticipated to continue until production increases sufficiently to meet the surging demand, thereby pushing prices further.

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