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Has Russia Nearly Doubled Its Ammunition Production Rate Since Beginning of War?

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Russian 2S4 "Tulypan" 240mm self-propelled mortar in deployed position

Artillery has long been called the king of the battlefield, but not since World War II, or perhaps even Wold War I, have we seen such a large scale, artillery dominated war. While exact figures are not available, it seems almost certain that artillery is by far and away producing the most casualties and deaths. And many analysts believes that it will be artillery that ultimately decides the war.

Hence, artillery is very important and having enough ammo to feed the tubes is also very important. With that in mind, it is worth noting that as reported by the Washington Times Times, Russia ’s defense industry has “almost doubled” its prewar ammunition production rates. This report comes from a a senior NATO member defense official who estimates that Ukrainian forces could face as many as 10,000 incoming rounds per day.

“Russia can still manufacture a lot of dumb bombs. And dumb bombs [including artillery shells] are also 152 [mm] artillery what does the most damage in the battlefield. ... Shooting 10,000 artillery [rounds] a day makes a lot of damage.” Kusti Salm, Estonian Defense Minister Permanent Secretary.

Salm's assessment seems to validate recent statements by Sergei Chemezov, Head of Russia's State Defense Conglomerate., who claimed in a quote from the Moscow Times that “we have increased the production of ammunition on orders by the Defense Ministry several times over." Chemezov also called out Western analyst noting that “our enemies’ chatter about Russia allegedly running out of missiles, shells, etc. is complete nonsense.”

While Chemezov may or may not be exaggerating about Russian production, he is right about Western analyst claims. Indeed, for many months Western analysts and military officials have been claiming that Russia in right on the edge of severe ammunition shortages. Here are a few of the dozens of headlines talking about Russia running out of ammunition:

Jan 6, 2023, Overt Defense - "Is Russia Running Short of Ammunition?"

Dec 20, 2022, The Economist - "Is Russia running out of ammunition?"

Nov 22, 2022 - The Wall Street Journal - "Russia’s Munitions Shortages Raise Questions Over How Long It Can Continue Ukraine War"

Oct 11, 2023, Fortune Magazine -"Putin’s blunder means Moscow is running out of weapons."

Mar 22, 2022, Times of Israel - "Ukraine claims Russian troops only have food, ammunition for 3 more days"

Obviously, it would be great news for Ukraine and the United States if Russian were to run out out of ammo for its artillery, as Russia, much more than Western Nations, has built its military around artillery power, with Russia's artillery numbering over 18,000 artillery units. This is about 4.5 times that of the United States and over 4 times that of Ukraine. Russia's artillery includes such monsters as the 2S4 "Tyulpan" 240mm self-propelled mortar capable of firing rocket assisted, 500 lb. laser guided mortar rounds and the 203mm 2S7 "Pion" which can fire 200 lb projectiles out to ranges of over 40 KM (about 25 miles). That kind of range means that the Pion can have a second round in the air and be moving to a new firing location prior to the first round striking, making the the Pion less vulnerable to counter-battery fire.

It also should be noted that Ukraine also has 2S7 Pions, but that lack of ammunition is reducing their impact.

It is possible that Western reports on Russia running out of ammunition could be exaggerated, but of course that is highly unlikely. Best to ignore any non-Western analysis or media, and instead rely only on Western intelligence and media because of the extreme reliability and integrity they consistently exemplify.

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