The European Union’s defence branch, the European Defence Agency (EDA), has announced its procurement of 155mm ammunition for a range of land platforms used by 26 member states and Norway, a non-EU third-party nation included in EDA initiatives.

Signed in Brussels on 5 September, the eight contracts represent closer ties between Europe’s reviving defence industry and the EDA to meet the needs of its member states with more agility.

Previously, the agency found that the reduced stockpiles of its member states have fallen to an unsustainable level for their support for Ukraine, which is waging a gruelling counter-offensive against invading Russian forces, and their own defence interests.

These eight ammunition contracts follow recent EU legislation, the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP), in which the Union mobilised €500m ($545.4m) to support Europe’s constrained ammunition and missile suppliers.

To date, the EDA has agreed to multiple framework contracts for the procurement of the 155mm rounds, also known as all-up-round, for the Panzerhaubitze 2000 as well as for the projectile and fuse components of ammunition for the Krab howitzer system.

A collaborative approach to procuring ammunition

The EDA’s approach to boosting ammunition is through a collaborative financial policy in which participating nations pay into the pot for the 155mm ammunition.

In a press release, the EDA outlined its rationale, stating: “Collaborative procurement is the best option to achieve cost reduction from economies of scale and interoperability, while allowing member states to purchase ammunition according to their national needs or in support of Ukraine.”

The joint project opens the way for participating countries to proceed along two paths: a two-year, fast-track procedure for 155mm artillery rounds and a seven-year project to acquire multiple ammunition types. 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Norway have all signed. 

Denmark, an EU member state, only recently opted to join the EDA on 23 March, and is anticipated to join the club. Danish Prime Minister Troels Lund Poulsen stated, “Ukraine continues to need massive support from allies, including ammunition, to resist Russian aggression.”

To comply with legal obligations and to protect commercially sensitive information, the EDA has not disclosed the names of the contractors nor the unit prices at this stage, and does not comment on ongoing negotiations.

EDA’s Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý said: “The signing of these framework contracts between the EDA and the European defence industry shows our capacity to swiftly secure the best deals possible for EU member states and Norway.

“We are now offering viable opportunities for [the participating nations] to place orders with industry through the EDA, either to support Ukraine or to replenish their own national stocks. It is now up to [them] to make full use of these options.”