Finland to double ammunition production, build new factories

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MILAN — The Finnish government has announced that it will invest over $130 million over the next three to four years to double the country’s production of artillery and mortar ammunition.

The decision, touted by the Finnish Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen in a Dec. 12 post on X, comes amid the European Union’s stagnant progress in increasing ammunition supplies to Ukraine.

Frans Peltonen, a senior specialist at the ministry’s materiel unit, told Defense News that the plans cover “heavy ammunition,” which means 155mm artillery shells as well as 81mm and 120mm mortar rounds. “This includes investments in the manufacturing of charges, propellants and explosive filling capacity – investments are expected to be completed between 2026-2027,” he said.

Peltonen declined to discuss production targets in keeping with government policy for keeping that information under wraps. The ramp-up is expected to lean on production sites of the Norwegian-Finnish Nammo group, one of the few major ammo producers in Europe, he said.

“The Finnish Defense Forces are currently responsible for the explosive filling of artillery and mortar rounds, with the Finnish industry, namely Nammo Lapua Oy and Nammo Vihtavuori Oy, responsible for producing various components and raw materials for ammo – propellants, charges and shell bodies,” Peltonen said.

In April, the New York Times reported that Nammo planned to increase its production rate to 200,000 artillery shells per year by 2028. At that time, Ukrainian forces were estimated to need a quarter of a million 155mm shells per month to fight off Russian troops.

Helsinki’s decision to double its shell manufacturing capability is tied to the government’s intention to increase support to Ukraine, according to Peltonen.

“This is a long-term commitment to increase our heavy ammunition production, which enables Finland to continue and increase its military aid to Ukraine in the future,” he said.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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