A stone-age army: "If they attack us - we will defend ourselves with stones"
Desperation in European capitals when it comes to military industrial production is only growing...Source: Jutarnji list
Namely, the military industry was deliberately reduced to a basic level after the perception of the disappearance of the threat of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and overstretched almost to the point of unsustainability after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has been the subject of numerous professional and political analyzes for a long time.
Europe's arms stocks are largely at record lows, and a rapid start-up of a military industry that would begin to produce sufficient quantities of weapons and equipment in a short period of time is not possible after so many decades of neglect, and what would even be possible in quickly getting the industry back on its feet in the beginning the product would not be enough even for Ukraine, let alone to replenish its own stocks.
Confirmation of how bleak the situation is comes from Belgium. Namely, the Belgian army is so short of weapons and money that the soldiers "would have to throw stones" shortly after the start of any conflict, said a former high-ranking member of the Belgian army, General Mark Thies, Politico reports.
Belgian Stone Age Army
Thies, who recently retired with the rank of Lieutenant General, said on Tuesday on the public service VRT that providing a stockpile of weapons to defend against an attack that would last up to two months would require an investment of 5 to 7 billion euros, which is far more than the local government currently allocates.
"If war breaks out here, we will have to throw stones after only a few hours because of the lack of weapons," Thies said. Politico estimates that the weapons shortage is leaving Belgium with a stone-age army.
Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Western governments have been shipping weapons to Kyiv to help it fend off Moscow's attacks and bolster its defenses. But arms makers in the European bloc are struggling to ramp up capacity to resume production and maintain stocks that are being depleted as weapons are shipped east, especially 155mm ammunition.
This means that the European Union will almost certainly fail to meet its self-imposed target for deliveries to Ukraine. Although an attack on Belgium is unlikely, the arms shortage brings into focus the viability of continuing to supply arms to Ukraine if the country's stockpile is depleted to the maximum.
In November, shortly after Thies's retirement, the Belgian government signed a two-decade contract with local arms manufacturer FN Herstal, including ammunition, but deliveries of the agreed quantities will take time.