gatnerd

Military Guns and Ammunition

Hosted by gatnerd

This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.

  • 3454
    MEMBERS
  • 199629
    MESSAGES
  • 14
    POSTS TODAY

Discussions

Artillery thread    Army Guns 20+mm

Started 14/7/23 by gatnerd; 26014 views.
In reply toRe: msg 143
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

9-Nov

More updates on US boosts in artillery production.

Watervleit, the arsenal that produces all US barrels, getting multi year upgrade including a new Rotary Forge for making longer barrels.

https://www.army.mil/article/267848/watervliet_forging_ahead_with_key_modernization_projects

US seeking more $ for 155mm production, details on past investments, goal of hitting 100k shells a month by 2025

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2023/11/08/us-army-eyes-31-billion-ammo-production-boost-in-new-spending-ask/

So far, the Army has been making 155mm shells at a single service plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a privately operated facility nearby. All of the shells are then transported to one place – Iowa Army Ammunition Plant – where they are packed with explosives.

Now, the service is under contract with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems to build a new, mostly automated facility in Mesquite, Texas, to build more shells, as well as a company in Ontario, Canada – IMT Defense.

Last month, the Army also awarded $1.5 billion in contracts to nine companies in the U.S., Canada, India and Poland to boost global production of 155mm artillery rounds. The contracts included procuring 14.2 million pounds of bulk energetics, consisting of TNT and IMX-104 explosive, as well as 270,000 primers, 678,000 fuses and combustible cartridge cases.

The pending supplemental budget request, if approved by Congress, would fund a $93 million upgrade to facilities to reestablish M6 propellant production at Radford Army Ammunition Plant in southwest Virginia, Bush said. The propellant is used to shoot the shells, but is no longer in production in the United States.

Another $600 million would triple the amount of IMX-104 explosive that is made at Holsten Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee. The plant currently produces roughly five million pounds a year with a plan to increase to 13 million pounds, Bush said.

The Army would also use $650 million to design and construct a domestic TNT production facility, which will likely be at Radford Army Ammunition Plant. Currently, Bush said, there is no TNT production in the U.S. and the suppl
...[Message truncated]
View Full Message
Mr. T (MrT4)

From: Mr. T (MrT4)

13-Nov

Would have to know the baseline numbers to see if this is quantifiably relevant.

So will they go from 10k shells per year to 80K ?

100mio $ buys you about 20,000-25.000 155mm shells these days

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

13-Nov

Mr. T (MrT4) said:

Would have to know the baseline numbers to see if this is quantifiably relevant.

The relevant fact is that there is a significant increase in production.

Mr. T (MrT4) said:

100mio $ buys you about 20,000-25.000 155mm shells these days

More like 35-40 k depending on the exact shells in question.

An eight fold increase in production is massive. Regardless of the actual numbers. Such leaps in production numbers are not simply done by flipping a sitch and pouring some money at suppliers. You need to set up logistics, facilities, machinery, access to resources and most important you need the workforce. Money is far easier to come by.

As for the production of artillery shells in Europe the bottle neck currently is the explosives to fill them. There simply is not enough production capacity and the world market has been bought empty. Setting up explosives production is conciderable more difficult than it is for things made from steel.
For use in UA currently simple and old school pure TNT filled L15 and M107 type legacy shells are being put back in production. Even though they are concidered outdated in most NATO armies they are cheap and easy produce and will go bang. They are easier to produce, cheaper and TNT is easier to come by and cheaper than the newer explosives.

Mr. T (MrT4)

From: Mr. T (MrT4)

13-Nov

Pre Ukraine war 155 shell was 3200Eur or so , now some prices are as high as 8000Eur for basic shell non extended range or anything special

If the 8500$ is true then you are only looking at 12k Shells for 100mio$

Extended range 155 according to FY2022 congressional papers are 14k$ per round and Excalibur round cost actualy nearly doubled from FY21 to FY22  from 80k$ to 141k$. manufacturers are fleecing the customer .

''Admiral Rob Bauer, head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's military committee, called on member countries to stop protecting national arms makers, whose current business model he compared to that of companies producing printers.
"The manufacturer will not get rich because of the printers that they make, but because of the ink," Bauer told Reuters in an interview published on Tuesday.

"If you make an artillery round that only fits in the gun that you make, then you force the users to buy your ammunition."

According to Bauer, the price for one artillery shell has gone up to 8,000 euros ($8,489.60) from 2,000 euros before Russia's attack on Ukraine.''

This “price” is much higher than the current estimates, which were formed based on the Rheinmetall contract for last year, according to which one 155-mm projectile costs 3.3 thousand euros.

The reasons for such a gallop in the price from 2 thousand euros at the level of 2021 to four times are quite clear: the need for a huge amount of artillery ammunition against the background of their relatively small current production. That is a deficit.

Experts note that in the situation of “large numbers”, at the current cost, the use of conventional artillery ammunition usually requires a feasibility assessment.

renatohm

From: renatohm

13-Nov

Britons will make HE in novel ways.

Maybe this was the biggest hurdle to increase production?

As you said, a nearly tenfold increase isn't trivial.

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

13-Nov

schnuersi said:

As for the production of artillery shells in Europe the bottle neck currently is the explosives to fill them. There simply is not enough production capacity and the world market has been bought empty. Setting up explosives production is conciderable more difficult than it is for things made from steel. For use in UA currently simple and old school pure TNT filled L15 and M107 type legacy shells are being put back in production. Even though they are concidered outdated in most NATO armies they are cheap and easy produce and will go bang. They are easier to produce, cheaper and TNT is easier to come by and cheaper than the newer explosives

I suspect this is part of why the US is looking into opening a new $650M TNT plant in the US.

Given the HE shortage, I wonder if we will see a return of Amatol? (60% TNT / 40% AN)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amatol

Amatol is a highly explosive material made from a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate.[1] . Similar mixtures (one part dinitronaphthalene and seven parts ammonium nitrate) were known as Schneiderite in France. 

Following the Shell Crisis of 1915 in which the UK did not have enough ordnance due to a lack of explosives, a team at the Royal Arsenal laboratories produced a mixture of ammonium nitrate and TNT, known as Amatol for short.It became the standard filling for shells and bombs, and was later adopted by the USA as their principal high explosive.

Amatol exploits synergy between TNT and ammonium nitrate. TNT has higher explosive velocity and brisance, but is deficient in oxygen. he oxygen surplus of ammonium nitrate increases the energy release of TNT during detonation. Amatol has a lower explosive velocity and correspondingly lower brisance than TNT but is cheaper because of the lower cost of ammonium nitrate.

Amatol allowed supplies of TNT to be expanded considerably, with little reduction in the destructive power of the final product, so long as the amount of TNT in the mixture did not fall below 60%. Mixtures containing as little as 20% TNT were for less demanding uses.

...[Message truncated]
View Full Message
schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Nov

The really high prices are for buying stocks of existing rounds in small batches. The market price for these wenn up significantly.

The agreed upon prices for the new large scale production batches in some cases is lower than pre war.

Of course more fancy shells are more expensive than less fancy ones. Which is the major point of criticism against the "everything has to be guided and smart" approach. Its simply not sustainable in a real war. If a guided shell is more effective doesn't matter if you ran out. There needs to be a balance which means something like 50-100 conventional shells per guided one. This has been simply screwed up.

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

14-Nov

Mr. T (MrT4) said:

100mio $ buys you about 20,000-25.000 155mm shells these days

The series of orders look to be pretty sizeable:

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

14-Nov

gatnerd said:

Given the HE shortage, I wonder if we will see a return of Amatol? (60% TNT / 40% AN)

I wouldn't rule it out but i think its unlikely.
Amatol to my knowledge can not pass the qualification process for modern munitions.

BTW its not that simple to produce it and fill it into shells as the quoted information suggests. Yes it can be done this way and has been done this way BUT this has been in the past. Modern health and safety regulations and regulations on working with explosives would prevent this. Furthermore just pouring molten TNT, Amatol or other explosives is not going to work nowadays. Its virtually impossible to ensure that there are no bubbles and that there is a homogenous connection to the shell wall. Making the shells more dangerous to handle and ruining their accuracy. One of the main problems of shell production is to make sure the shell is entirely and evenly filles. Which is why pouring is not used anymore. The simple fact that molten explosives cool down to solidify and shrink while doing so prevents this method from achieving the desired results.
Yes compromises have to be made and things have to be adjusted to the new situation but my educated guess is this is where the line is. The approach will be to increase production of modern shells so the requirements of UA can be met. Long term the intention is to fill the storages of NATO countries as well. So the ammo will at some point be owned and possibly used by them. So there is little incentive to go all out low tech.

TOP