- Russia used 35% of ammunition stocks in just over 6 months
- Now trying to buy Soviet era 122mm & 152mm ammunition on world markets – but shortages force
- Russia to try to buy from North Korea
- drones & unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Iran
As international sanctions bite and battlefield loses whittle away at Russia’s weapons inventory, Russia is increasingly looking abroad to replenish its military inventory. It has been estimated that Russian may have expended close to thirty-five per cent of its artillery ammunition stocks in just over six months and has already started trying to hoover up Soviet era 122mm and 152mm artillery ammunition natures on world markets.
Russian armaments manufacturers will need some time to ramp up production to meet the demands of the Ukraine war, where ammunition expenditure has far exceeded most peacetime estimates. It’s reported that, whilst the production of shell and missile casings is relatively straightforward, there is a dearth of explosives to fill the shell cases and the charges to fire them. This could be a major problem in the artillery exchanges that now characterise this phase of the war.
To fill the gap we now learn that Russia is actively seeking to buy weapons and other materials of war from North Korea, although the details of what and when are vague. Better documented is the fact that they are also purchasing/procuring drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Iran. The Iranians manufacture a variety of reconnaissance and armed UAVs, and it is known that the Russians have ordered between 50-100 of their Ababil 3 drone, which has a range of some 250 kilometres and an endurance of up to eight hours. It is primarily a reconnaissance and surveillance craft but can be adapted to be armed.
Meanwhile Ukraine continues to receive weaponry and training from the west. Another hefty aid package has been announced from the USA, including additional HIMARS rockets, 105mm howitzers and ammunition, and night vision aids amongst other things. This support from the USA and other NATO countries has allowed Ukraine to undertake offensive operations to the east of Kharkiv, where significant advances have been achieved, and simultaneously towards Kherson in the south.