Based on the experience of Israel’s fourth Middle East war 50 years ago, Western military aid to Ukraine’s military may not last forever.
Right from the beginning when the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out , despite declaring not to take part in the war, the US “poured more fuel on the fire”, when it donated a series of weapons to Ukraine. The total amount of US and NATO aid to Ukraine even exceeded Russia’s defense budget last year.
According to the British news agency Reuters, citing Pentagon officials, the US can no longer supply certain types of ammunition to the Ukrainian military in the future, because the consumption rate of the Ukrainian battlefield is at “alarming” high levels, and the US military’s inventory of weapons has “bottomed out”.
Senior US military officials told the press that Washington has once again “drawn lessons” from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the need for ammunition in the current large-scale military conflicts, has far exceeded the number expected in the calculated plans in peacetime.
According to official US statistics, after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out, the value of military aid that Washington provided to Ukraine exceeded $16.8 billion and showed no sign of stopping.
Since the beginning of this year, the US Department of Defense has provided more than 8,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian army; while the production capacity of this type of missile over the years (including for the needs of the US Army and export to other countries), is only about 1,000 missiles/year.
Particularly in terms of large-caliber artillery shells, Ukraine consumes the most. The US has aided the Ukrainian army with more than 800,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells according to NATO standards, but it is still only “salt out of the sea”. In the words of Pentagon officials, the US military’s ammunition stockpiles have fallen to “worrying” levels.
According to the Pentagon report, the annual production of 155mm shells in the United States is about 30,000 rounds; while the Ukrainian military relies heavily on artillery fire and annual US production of artillery shells, it can only meet the requirements of the Ukrainian Army in less than two weeks.
In fact, the “computation in peacetime, much lower than the reality of war” is not a new story, it happened almost 50 years ago; it is this that has taught Israel a profound and valuable lesson in preparing for its defense in wartime.
Before the outbreak of the Fourth Middle East War in 1973, the Israeli military estimated that a 155mm howitzer would consume about 400 rounds in about five days during the war. But during the Fourth Middle East War, the actual consumption of a cannon, was being able to fire 400 rounds in 24 hours.
As for the tank’s main gun barrel durability, with a firing life of about 400 rounds, it is necessary to replace the barrel with a new one and the Israeli army estimates that, the life of the main gun barrel of a tank, will expire after 3- 5 days in combat and needs to be replaced.
But considering the actual battlefield situation, that is, many tanks can fire three or four hundred rounds, in just one day of intense combat and thus, the main cannon has almost reached the end of its useful life.
However, because there were not enough spare barrels in the rear and because the fighting was so fierce, these tanks had to continue using their expired main guns; This significantly affects the rate of hitting targets at long distances.
Since then, the Israeli military has paid special attention to the reserve of military material, to be ready for a large-scale all-out war that can happen at any time. But it is clear that the US has not learned the “bloody” lesson of Israel and still lacks awareness of the high costs of modern conflict.
Some analysts in the US point out that, since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the US has drastically cut back on defense spending and a large number of weapons factories have had to close. If Congress and the military fail to convince the defense industry to restart production, the United States will no longer be able to supply Ukraine with weapons.
What worries the leaders of the Pentagon even more is that the current inventory of some weapons and military equipment in the country is kept to a minimum; and it could take several years to restore stockpiles to pre-Russian-Ukrainian levels.
Of course, in addition to the US, European countries that provide weapons to the Ukrainian army are also “not too optimistic”. A few days ago, it was reported that, due to the lack of British heavy artillery, the British had to buy a batch of old artillery from Pakistan and send it to the Ukrainian army.
In this context, South Korea has become a supplier of large caliber 155mm artillery shells to many NATO countries, to fill the gap in their arsenals. This can be considered unprecedented, when NATO countries have to buy weapons from Asia to replenish their stockpiles.