155mm shells & wrong conclusions

The last few days I was following discussions and opinions about a US government call for possible new contractors to produce 155mm artillery ammunition.

The news spread from an article in a MSM propaganda outlet, but quoted lines from a Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems survey:

The Army’s Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems is doing market research „to identify potential sources within the United States and Canada that can Load, Assemble, and Pack (LAP) and deliver the 155mm M795 High Explosive (HE) Projectile,” the survey said.

Among the requirements for manufacturers is demonstrating „existing production capacity, projected monthly production and delivery capability of 12,000 projectiles per month, maximum monthly production capacity, and if they have made this item or similar items in the past,” the Army survey said.

The government would provide „projectile metal parts, rotating band covers, wooden pallets, lifting plugs, IMX-101 explosive and TNT/PBXN-9 supplementary charges,” the survey said. But the contractor would need to procure „bulk TNT” on its own, it added.

PM-CAS is part of JPEO A&A (Joint Program Executive Office Armaments & Ammunition).

The MSM article provided a link to the said survey (meanwhile updated) and I took snapshots of the latest variant:

In addition, here is the specification for the type of shell mentioned in the survey ( link – page 40) :

Same link – pages 5, 6 – lists all the 155mm shell types produced.

So the type of shell mentioned is designed to be fired from M109A6 Paladin, Lightweight M777A2 Towed Howitzer and M198 Series Howitzers.

In case of Ukraine, to have a reference criterion, we’re talking about 120+ pieces of artillery capable of firing this type of shell.

The market survey looks for potential producers to add to the current contractors and the cap on 12000 shells/month is demanded by the US gov.

The cap, imo, has to do with the following passage in the market survey:

„GFM [Government Furnished Material] planned for this effort includes the projectile metal parts, rotating band covers, wooden pallets, lifting plugs, IMX-101 explosive and TNT/PBXN-9 supplementary charges. Bulk TNT would need to be procured by the offeror.”

Conclusion (the good one !)

My take on this topic. I believe extrapolation from this exploratory document (regarding assembly of a number of shells limited to the quantity of parts government can deliver to the eventual producer) to the whole artillery ammunition production capabilities of US is a gross exaggeration.

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