The EU institutions – European Parliament and Council – have agreed to a regulation under the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) on 7 July 2023.

The new regulation will mobilise €500m ($545.4m) to support Europe’s constrained ammunition and missile suppliers. Defence companies have been under pressure to meet new demands by a continent that is “mobilising for a different paradigm”, according to Mike Mews, the Director of UK Sales and Business Development at MBDA, Europe’s leading weapon systems supplier.

ASAP will ensure that the EU can efficiently ramp up its production capacity of ammunitions and missiles in a three-track approach.

First, member states will destock their ammunitions to provide a million rounds of artillery to Ukraine with the next year. Second, for the European Defence Agency to co-ordinate a push to jointly procure ammunition.

The latest financial regulation agreed upon by the EU institutions will now begin to deliver the third track. This involves ramping-up manufacturing capacities across the European defence industry: securing supply chains, facilitating efficient procurement procedures, addressing shortfalls in production capacities and promoting investments, including, where appropriate, mobilising the Union budget.

The Union’s defence industry will be able to produce more and faster as the proposed regulation will support the industrial reinforcement throughout the supply chains of ammunition and missiles in the EU.

It is a direct response to the March European Council’s call to urgently deliver ammunition, and if requested missiles, to Ukraine and to help member states refill their stocks by introducing targeted measures.

Preparations for ammunition sustainment

While ASAP has bene in the works since March, the European Defence Agency have started a Round-Robin test to assess the safety and reliability of member states’ ammunition stockpiles.

Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland as lead nation, are co-operating in this project by performing real fire testing and chemical testing. This project has an estimated duration of eight months, and the outcome will be an important step to harmonise ammunition safety requirements, procedures and improve interoperability.

This project helps to efficiently mobilise all available stockpiles – which signals the continent’s struggle for sustainment before ASAP was implemented.

“ASAP will be crucial to help deliver, in sufficient quantaties and on time, the ammunition and missiles Ukraine and member states need.

“By enabling us to mobilise the resources needed to stand by Ukraine and meet its needs, ASAP also demonstrates the Union’s role as a reliable partner in the field of defence,” Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for a Digital Age.