war, logistics and globalization | Profile

It is noted with concern that the Russo-Ukrainian war will not end until the reserves of arms and ammunition used by the belligerents are exhausted. Both sides are burning their reserves at an unsustainable rate as the conflict appears to be expanding. The Russians are having trouble even with their deep bunkers and this is hampering a 20th century logistics train on a 21st century battlefield. The problem to keep your army equipped is not the most interesting story.

The Ukrainians would have run out of weapons months ago if the former Warsaw Pact (now NATO) nations hadn’t emptied their inventory of Soviet-era weapons and the rest of the organization hadn’t spent all the available money to buy. That, and the rapid adoption of NATO-compliant equipment by the Ukrainians, is helping them, but does the West have enough to give? The neglected reserves of the West are ready only for a limited or short war – the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation has put it in relief.

The United States sent 13 years of production of the “Stinger” surface-to-air missile and 5 years of production of the “Javelin” anti-tank missile to Ukraine, it was reported in November during a panel discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum in the United States. .

One possible way the resupply of NATO allies could be sped up is to set up factories in Europe to produce weapons closer to the front. German munitions makers recently warned that the waiting period for orders for cotton linters from China (a crucial component for small arms and artillery propellant charges) has tripled to nine months.

Industry sources said all European munitions producers depend on China for cotton linters, even though it is a commodity, traded globally.

The German government organized a round table with ammunition manufacturers on November 28; however, no specific results were made public. Wolfgang Hellmich, the defense affairs spokesman for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, told the Asia Nikkei that the tight supply of Chinese-origin materials for military equipment is particularly problematic for ammunition and specific steels.

The Western problem. I have already stated my opinion that the West did not (incomprehensibly) foresee the Russian attack. Now the war is sending another clear warning to the entire West: it must increase production capacity and have a more reliable and efficient supply chain. This is difficult, because unlike other things (whose inventories are externalized), ammunition and weapons are hidden out of sight; if peacetime military and diplomats do their job, they will never be used. However, when they are needed, the need is existential.

[email protected]

You may also like