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Canada weighs up options to replace equipment sent to Ukraine

15th November 2023 - 14:02 GMT | by Marc Selinger in Washington DC


Canadian Armed Forces members firing a M777 Howitzer during a military exercise in Latvia in September 2023. (Photo: Corporal Lynette Ai Dang via CAF)

Canada has been considering its plans for replacing military equipment donated to Ukraine for its fight against invading Russia forces, including howitzers, tanks, missiles and small arms.

The Canadian government has been pondering how to replace much of the C$2.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) in military assistance donations it has committed to Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, according to Canada’s Department of National Defense (DND).

‘Discussions are ongoing regarding the replenishment of all capabilities provided by the donated equipment,’ DND spokesperson Andrew McKelvey told Shephard.

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While some of the equipment was purchased specifically for Ukraine, much of it came from the inventory of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Replenishing the CAF stocks would be expected to take years and equipment would not necessarily be replaced on a one-for-one basis.

‘Rather, replenishments will address the capability areas that are most urgent,’ McKelvey said. ‘Additionally, the DND and CAF intend to procure equipment that not only responds to the current needs of the CAF, but also the anticipated future needs of the rapidly evolving security environment.’

Canada has been exploring options to replace the four BAE Systems M777 lightweight 155mm towed howitzers it donated, with options including the purchase of new M777s – should the howitzer’s shuttered production line reopen – purchasing existing M777s from other countries or acquiring a different capability.

BAE Systems said it was considering resuming M777 manufacturing which it ended following a final US Army order in 2018.

‘In light of global events, we have received a number of inquiries about the availability of future M777 systems,’ a BAE Systems spokesperson told Shephard. ‘In conjunction with the US Army, we are evaluating potential options to restart production.’

Besides the M777s, along with 155mm ammunition for the howitzers, items donated from CAF inventory has included eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks, more than 300 air defence missiles, approximately 100 Carl Gustaf M2 anti-armour weapon systems, 4,200 M72 rocket launchers, 105mm training ammunition for Leopard 1 tanks, and small arms and associated ammunition.

Replacing ammunition has been considered a priority to maintain the readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces, with the government ready to purchase as much as possible from domestic companies that participate in its Munitions Supply Program (MSP), McKelvey said.

‘In cases where MSP companies do not possess the capability to produce certain types of munitions domestically, or where the rate of CAF use of certain types means that domestic supply sources are not feasible, the government of Canada may purchase munitions through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme with the US or other similar instruments,’ he added.

Items Canada has purchased for Ukraine include additional M777 ammunition; a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and associated munitions; hundreds of armoured vehicles; high-resolution drone cameras; commercial satellite imagery; and satellite communications service.

Marc Selinger


Marc Selinger

Marc is a freelance contributor to Shephard Media's news streams, with decades of experience writing …

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