NATO is discussing the possibility of resuming the production of artillery ammunition for Soviet-era army systems in Slovakia. Such systems are still being operated in vast numbers in the war in Ukraine.
In Slovakia, plants in Snina and Dubnica nad Váhom have the capacity for the required production.
According to New York Times, the production should be financed by the alliance.Snina plant to produce ammunition for Ukraine and NATO countries Read more
Analysing the capacities
In addition to Slovakia, the daily also mentioned the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The renewed production should focus mainly on the 152mm and 122mm artillery ammunition mainly used by howitzers of the Soviet era.
During his December 8 visit to Kyiv, the Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs also mentioned Slovakia's capacities.
“We are currently talking about how to get our production facilities up and running. In these, we used to produce large-calibre cartridges. The capacities are partly state-owned, partly private. But we need these plants to produce 155mm shells for howitzers as well, and that is our first priority," said Rastislav Káčer.
According to the Slovak Defense Ministry, talks with NATO partners are currently in the phase of analysing the availability of the capacities of individual countries.
When it comes to Slovakia, the expansion of the howitzer ammunition production was already discussed in 2022, especially in connection with the plants in Dubnica nad Váhom and Snina. Engineering company ZVS Holding based in Dubnica nad Váhom planned to significantly increase production from the current 19,000 pieces to 100,000 pieces per year.
While ammunition bodies would be produced in the Snina plant, the final assembly would take place at the parent company in Dubnica nad Váhom.Western countries pay for more Zuzana howitzers for Ukraine Read more
Ukraine spends a lot of ammunition
"We are open to any discussion with allies about the potential to support the domestic defense industry, bring new job opportunities to our regions and, last but not least, help Ukrainian partners in the fight against the aggressor," the Defense Ministry said in a statement to the Euractiv.sk website.
However, it is yet to be determined whether NATO will invest specifically in production at ZVS Holding.
According to NATO experts, a day in Ukraine is like a month in Afghanistan in terms of the number of missiles fired and ammunition used. Estimates say Ukrainians fired up to 7,000 artillery rounds each day during summer, while the United States produce 15,000 pieces per month.
In Europe, almost a third of the production of 155mm artillery ammunition is covered by the Czech company CSG. Its current production capacity is from 80,000 to 100,000 shells per year. However, the company is preparing an expansion to 150,000.