JERUSALEM — Israel has ordered tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells through a $60 million contract with Elbit Systems amid tension on the country’s northern border.
The government and the company this week announced the deal for the M107-A3 projectiles for the Israel Defense Forces’ artillery corps. The order follows a move by the U.S. to withdraw 300,000 shells stored in the country to transfer them to Ukraine, according to a January report in The New York Times. Israel had an agreement with the U.S. under which the former could use the ammunition for military campaigns.
In July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine was firing thousands of shells each day. The worldwide industrial base supporting Ukraine’s efforts is struggling to keep up with demand.
Meanwhile, Israel’s northern border has seen increased tension between the IDF and Hezbollah.
Their artillery shells’ delivery is expected in 2024, the ministry said.
“The agreement with Elbit Systems will strengthen the IDF for various combat scenarios and will inject hundreds of millions of shekels into local production, which will strengthen the industry with an emphasis on the periphery and preserve the capabilities of local military production,” Zeev Landau, head of the procurement administration in the ministry, said in a statement.
Udi Vered, the chief executive of Elbit’s land division, said “the expansion and upgrading of our infrastructures enable the production at an increased rate.”
Elbit Systems has made artillery and tank shells for decades. After acquiring IMI Systems in 2018 for $495 million, Elbit became the exclusive supplier of shells for the Israeli Defense Ministry.
The head of the ammunition business unit within Elbit’s land division told Defense News on Thursday the A3 shell variant increases the weapon’s performance and can reach longer ranges than the generic M107.
“Our shells are supplied with unique, unified modular charges, which allows logistic simplicity, lower barrel wear, increased firepower and full adaptability to modern automatic loaders,” the company official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for security reasons.
Tzally Greenberg is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has experience reporting on economic affairs as well as defense and cyber companies.