Alexander Topchy 19:37, 10.10.22 UNIAN
Since defense spending has been a lower priority for years, it may take time for arms manufacturers to close the gap between supply and demand.
NATO countries are calling on defense companies to increase the production of arms and ammunition to help them rebuild stocks that have dwindled due to Russian aggression against Ukraine.
However, it may take years for defense contractors to make up the shortfall, writes Bloomberg .
Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, Ukraine’s allies have already sent billions of dollars worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment. This reduced stockpiles of ammunition, including 155mm artillery shells, more than a million of which the United States transferred to Ukraine.
It is noted that now defense companies in the US and Europe are seeing an increase in demand for air defense and anti-tank weapons. But it will be difficult for them to ramp up production quickly after decades of limited orders.
Bloomberg notes that in addition to multiple rocket launchers, Ukraine’s allies are focusing on sending Soviet-era weapons and tanks, which are already in short supply. Therefore, they need to be replaced with modern weapons. At the same time, NATO countries also need more weapons to strengthen their presence on their eastern flank.
“The increase in NATO stocks ensures that we can continue to support Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in late September.
However, according to Bloomberg, it could be years before supply catches up with demand. After all, arms manufacturers face obstacles to expanding production to the required level.
European defense companies will also have to modify production lines after many governments cut defense spending after the end of the Cold War. According to NATO data, defense spending in Europe and Canada was about $310 billion in 1990, after which it declined for two decades. It was only after 2014, when Russia occupied Ukrainian Crimea, that spending began to rise again.
“We have been working in this mode for decades, and now suddenly we are entering a completely different game. We need to expand massively, and it’s just a huge effort that takes time, because everything needs to be reconfigured,” said the director of defense and security at Association of Aerospace and Defense Industries of Europe Burkard Schmitt.
Companies are also having difficulty accessing certain semiconductors and rare earth metals, and skilled workers are in short supply.
Lend-Lease for Ukraine
As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 1, 2022, the law on lend-lease for Ukraine , adopted by the United States, came into force. The first Lend-Lease weapons will arrive in Ukraine in mid-October.
The Lend-Lease Act expands the powers of the US President in agreements on the supply of military assistance to Ukraine. In fact, it allows lending or leasing military equipment under simplified export control procedures. It allows the White House to provide Ukraine with weapons, equipment, ammunition and dual-use products under an accelerated procedure, that is, without waiting for a special allocation of funds for this by the US Congress.
Experts are sure that the Lend-Lease weapons that Ukraine will receive will radically change the balance of power. Therefore, now Moscow is trying to use the opportunity and seize even more territories in the Donbass.
UNIAN has already told what kind of support Ukraine can count on from this Lend-Lease.
The last time the Lend-Lease program operated was during World War II, when American military aid was supplied to the opponents of Nazi Germany, primarily Great Britain and the USSR.