Top US general warns of high ammo use in event of major war

A worker examines a 155mm artillery shell, at a US army ammunition plant. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - America’s top military officer warned on Wednesday that war between the United States and another major power would see “off-the-charts” consumption of munitions, and that there is work to be done to ensure the country is prepared.

Ukraine and Russia have fired huge amounts of artillery ammunition since Moscow invaded its neighbour in February 2022, sparking concerns about the amount the US – which has supplied large amounts of shells to Kyiv – has on hand.

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee that a “big lesson learnt comes out of Ukraine, which is the incredible consumption rates of conventional munitions in what really is a limited regional war”.

“If there was a war on the Korean peninsula or a great power war between the United States and Russia, United States and China, those consumption rates would be off the charts,” he said.

“We’ve got a ways to go to make sure our... stockpiles are prepared for the real contingencies.”

Gen Milley’s remarks came a day after Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo said the US aims to greatly expand the production of artillery shells.

“We’re... investing in production capacity – US$1.45 billion (S$1.9 billion) to expand the 155mm artillery production from 14,000 a month to over 24,000 later this year, which includes a sixfold increase in production capacity by FY28 to over 85,000 units per month,” he said at an Association of the United States Army symposium.

The country is also seeking to increase production of Javelin launchers and missiles as well as ammunition for Himars precision rocket launchers – equipment that has played a key role in Ukraine’s fight against Russian troops, Undersecretary Camarillo said. AFP

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