The Army has detailed recent accelerated contracting efforts to “significantly increase production capacity” for 155mm artillery shells, as the service looks to replenish stockpiles of munitions transferred in large numbers to help support Ukraine.

IMT Defense was awarded a sole-source contract on Nov. 22 to produce M795 155mm projectile shell bodies and

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems [GD] was awarded a new task order on Nov. 23 to build a new 155mm artillery metal parts production line, the Army said on Thursday.

M795 High Explosive (HE) Projectile 155 mm rounds are prepped and staged to conduct field artillery training on Warrior Base, New Mexico Range, Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Korea, March 15, 2015. The training was a part of joint training exercise Foal Eagle 2015 between the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) Armies. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock/Released)

“Robust investment in production capacity through our industrial partners gives the Army the ability to ramp and surge production capacity as needed to meet its requirements,” Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, said in a statement. “Army leadership is also leveraging our allies to access additional artillery capability; contracts have been awarded and production is underway.”

As of Nov. 23, the U.S. has committed to providing Ukraine with up to 924,000 155mm artillery rounds for use with 142 155mm howitzers to assist in the fight against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

The new deal to IMT Defense is worth $391 million, according to the Pentagon’s Nov. 22 contracts announcement, with deliveries of the new M795 155mm shells to be completed by November 2027. 

The Army said GD Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ new task order will establish a production line for 155mm shell parts in Garland, Texas “that will utilize free-flow forming technology, which delivers flexible, cost-effective and precise metal forming with higher machine speeds and more accurate, uniform products.”

“These actions are a direct result of Congress supporting the Army’s efforts to secure supplemental and replenishment funding to invest in the ammunition production industrial base,” the Army wrote in a statement.

The $858 million final version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that lawmakers rolled out this week includes a provision that would allow the Pentagon to use multi-year contracts for munitions procurements, to include M1113, M107 and M795 155mm artillery rounds (Defense Daily, Dec. 7). 

Bush told reporters last month that such an authority could “potentially” benefit certain munitions programs, to include those the Army is building in “large scale already where we have hot production lines” (Defense Daily, Nov. 22).