Germany’s Scholz and Denmark’s Frederiksen visit site of new ammunition factory

The factory will produce enough ammunition to satisfy the needs of Germany’s military and help the country’s partners in Europe.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen joined in a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday launching the construction of a new ammunition factory in Unterlüß, Germany. 

The plant will help Europe ramp up its weapons production as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on and at a time when U.S. politics, and specifically Donald Trump, casts shade over the reliability and durability of NATO.

The new ammunition plant is being built by Germany’s defence company Rheinmetall at its existing site in the town in lower Saxony, northern Germany, and is expected to eventually produce around 200,000 artillery shells per year along with explosives and possibly other components, including warheads. 

Rheinmetall said that the production would primarily meet the needs of Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr. The priority is to start production as soon as possible and it expects construction to take about a year.

The company is shouldering the cost of about €300 million.

On Monday, Scholz said that Rheinmetall was “laying the foundation for supplying the Bundeswehr and our partners in Europe with artillery ammunition independently and above all durably.”

He added: “We have managed so far by delivering a great deal from our stocks,” but that is becoming ever more difficult. It is important that we do everything to increase production worldwide.”

Scholz said that the new plant was particularly important in light of Ukraine’s ammunition needs. 

The 27-nation EU’s plans to produce 1 million artillery rounds for Ukraine have fallen short, with only about a third of the target met.