France and Australia will supply Ukraine with 155mm shells needed for artillery pieces provided by the West since Russia’s invasion, defense ministers Sebastien Lecornu and Richard Marles said Monday.
“Several thousand 155 mm shells will be manufactured jointly” by French arms supplier Nexter, France’s Lecornu said, while Marles said the plan would come with a “multi-million-dollar” price tag.
The ammunition supplies fit into “the ongoing level of support both France and Australia are providing Ukraine to make sure Ukraine is able to stay in this conflict and… see it concluded on its own terms,” the Australian minister added.
Lecornu said the aid would be “significant” and “an effort that will be kept up over time,” with the first deliveries slated for the first quarter of 2023.
Marles said “there are some unique capabilities that exist in Australia and some synergies that can be achieved by Australiaand France working together” to manufacture the shells.
While Nexter will manufacture, Australia would supply gunpowder, Lecornu said without elaborating further.
The two defense ministers were meeting alongside both countries’ foreign ministers, Catherine Colonna and Penny Wong, as France and Australia look to relaunch cooperation.
Marles hailed “personal warmth between the four of us,” with all the ministers stressing the need to “rebuild” or “relaunch” the relationship in different ways.
Several types of artillery sent to Ukraine from its Western allies fire 155 mm shells, including French-made CAESAR truck-mounted guns, the British-built M777 howitzer, or the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled gun.