Each day, the Russian arms industry produces around 12,320 artillery shells, each costing approximately $1,000 to make. This results in an impressive monthly total of 375,000 shells and an annual output of 4.5 million. These figures, provided by the consulting firm Bain & Company and reported by Sky News, indicate that Russia is set to produce about 4.5 million artillery shells in 2024. While it’s unclear how many of these shells are reused, Russia’s production far exceeds the combined output of 1.3 million shells by the United States and European countries, which is only a third of Russia’s production.

Bain & Company also points out a critical issue for Ukraine: a severe shortage of artillery shells, exacerbated by slow production rates. The combined artillery shell supply from the US and Europe is insufficient to meet Ukraine’s needs against the Russian threat effectively. A Ukrainian artillery gunner noted that for every shell fired by Ukrainian forces, the enemy responds with five. According to Militarnyi, citing Sky News, Russia’s swift production and repair capabilities keep the cost of manufacturing 152 mm artillery shells around $1,000 each. In contrast, similar projectiles in Europe and the USA cost about $4,000 on average, sometimes exceeding $5,000 per unit. Sky News highlights that this slow increase in production negatively affects Ukraine’s ability to counter the Russian Federation.

Uralvagonzavod, a leading Russian artillery shell manufacturer, is state-owned and renowned for producing a wide array of military equipment. Though specific figures are often classified, its monthly production capacity is estimated to be in the tens of thousands, underscoring its significant role in Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Another key player in Russia’s artillery shell production is the Tula Ordnance Plant, a historic facility that has been a cornerstone of Russian arms manufacturing for centuries. The Tula Ordnance Plant can produce substantial quantities of artillery shells each month—estimated to be in the several thousand range, depending on the type and complexity of the shells.

Kurganmashzavod also contributes significantly to Russia’s artillery shell production. While best known for its infantry fighting vehicles, it has diversified to include artillery ammunition in its production lineup. The monthly output at Kurganmashzavod is believed to be in the low thousands, highlighting its commitment to high-quality, specialized munitions.

The Nizhny Novgorod Machine-Building Plant, commonly known as the Nizhny Novgorod Plant, is a key player in the defense sector. With its robust manufacturing infrastructure, this facility produces a variety of military equipment, including artillery shells. Its monthly production capacity is estimated at around one thousand units, ensuring a consistent supply of ammunition for the Russian military.

In discussing artillery production, it’s essential to consider Russia’s existing stockpiles. According to reports from ERR.ee in October 2023, Ants Kiviselg, the head of intelligence for the Estonian Defense Forces, confirmed that Russia received 350,000 units of ammunition from North Korea. Estonian intelligence also indicated that Russia has approximately 4 million artillery shells, enough for a year of low-intensity conflict. This estimate is based on satellite images of uncovered Russian warehouses, but the quantity stored in covered warehouses remains unknown.

Regarding production costs, BulgarianMilitary.com reported in November last year on Russia’s cost-cutting measures. It was noted that the Russian military uses a 122mm artillery shell with a bright green color, which is attributed to the omission of the typical casing used to extend shelf life. This measure is aimed at reducing expenses during the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, as the immediate need is for ammunition on the frontlines rather than in storage.

The casing of an artillery shell serves several purposes, including prolonging its shelf life and facilitating transport. Typically, artillery pieces have features like handles or lifting lugs to simplify transportation, and the shells are designed to fit seamlessly with artillery systems. Additionally, the casing often has markings or color codes to indicate the type of shell and its function, aiding in accurate identification and deployment.