American Factory Supplying Ammo To US, Ukraine Is Apparently Reliant On Foreign Tech

A new domestically-based plant supplying arms to the U.S. and Ukraine is filled almost entirely with foreign technologies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

A new factory built by defense contractor General Dynamics in Texas is playing a key role in producing the needed armaments, but it is nearly totally reliant on foreign-provided technology and machinery, underscoring the U.S.’ increasing reliance on the international community to revamp domestic weapons production, according to the WSJ. The Biden administration is spending billions of dollars to quickly boost arms production amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and a commitment to supply weapons to Kyiv — and to restock the U.S.’ own military stockpiles.

“Without the support from Turkey, this facility would be empty,” U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during a recent tour of the factory, according to the WSJ.

General Dynamics tapped Repkon, a Turkish-based defense contractor, to supply hydraulic presses critical in the production of artillery shells, according to the WSJ. The Biden administration is seeking to ramp up shell production from roughly 30,000 to 100,000 by the end of 2025, and the General Dynamics Texas plant would account for roughly half that total.

The Turkish company provided the presses because no U.S.-based supplier would have been ready in time to get the plant operational within the next two years, according to the WSJ. Robotic and automated machines in the factory are supplied from Germany by the manufacturer Kuka, which was bought out in 2016 by Chinese-based company Midea, according to the WSJ.

“U.S. companies could have duplicated a lot of the machinery, but not quickly enough,” John Kelly, CEO of the U.S. branch of Hanwha Defense, told the WSJ. Hanwha Defense, headquartered in South Korea, has collaborated with General Dynamics before but was not part of developing the Texas factory.

The increased push to boost domestic weapons production across the U.S. will also require increased reliance on foreign nations to help, according to the WSJ. Crucial machinery and technologies used in production are found in other countries’ weapons plants, including Germany, Japan and Turkey.

Attempting to develop arms supply chains in the U.S. that have been created in other nations could take decades, defense executives told the WSJ.

The Pentagon plans to expand arms production beyond baseline levels for years to come in a bid to strengthen the U.S. domestic defense industry, even if foreign actors are helping play a role, according to the WSJ. U.S. officials believe that creating bigger weapons stockpiles will prepare the U.S. for any future conflicts or wars.

“We’re in an ugly period right now, and that is driving the need for our allies and the United States to arm in the face of threat,” Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics, said at a conference in February, per the WSJ.


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