Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the Military Committee of NATO, addresses members of the German-French Brigade on July 10, 2023 at the Gaiziunai military training area in Gaiziunai, Lithuania. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Getty Images)


NATO urges arms production boost as warehouses ‘half full’


The arms industry needs to ramp up weapons and ammunition production as “the bottom of the barrel is now visible” due to the war in Ukraine, NATO Military Committee head Admiral Rob Bauer said on Tuesday.

NATO has been pressing for a boost in defence production to satisfy a demand for weapons and equipment that has soared since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, as allies not only rush supplies to Kyiv but also build up their own inventories.

Speaking on the first day of the Warsaw Security Forum, Bauer said budgets had already risen years before the war, but the industry had not increased production capacity.

“And that has led to higher prices already before the war. And that actually has (been) exacerbated by the fact that we now give away weapon systems to Ukraine, which is great, and ammunition, but not from full warehouses,” he said.

“We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe, and therefore the bottom of the barrel is now visible. And we need the industry to ramp up production in a much higher tempo and we need large volumes.”

Bauer last month warned that a drastic rise in ammunition prices meant that allies’ higher defence spending did not automatically translate into greater security, and called for more private investment in defence companies.