Ammunition Suppliers from Central and Eastern Europe
The following survey provides an overview of the most important ammunition producers from Central and Eastern Europe (excluding the republics of the former Soviet Union).
Since 1962, the Albanian arms industry has produced a variety of ammunition, explosives and infantry weapons, all of which faced rapid decline after the fall of communism in Albania during the early 1990s.
Kombinati Mekanik Poliçan specialised in the production of rifle, machine gun and mortar ammunition, including anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. Currently, the company reportedly produces only pistol rounds (9×18 mm and 9×19 mm). Uzina e Lëndëve Plasëse Mjekës continues with the production of explosives (TNT, RDX) and propellants (nitrocellulose).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The country inherited a significant portion of the former Yugoslavia’s military production capacities. In the past, some 51% of the total arms production within the former Yugoslavia was carried out on the territory of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The leading defence contractor is the state-owned concern UNIS-GROUP headquartered in Sarajevo. This concern is composed of eight companies providing a wide range of arms products and services, most of which are centred on explosives and ammunition manufacture. Production of small arms ammunition of calibres 5.56 mm to 12.7 mm according to NATO and Russian standards is the responsibility of Igman, an ammunition factory founded in 1950, and based in Konjic.
Another member of UNIS-GROUP is Pretis, established in 1948. Its manufacturing plant is located in Vogošća, a suburb of Sarajevo where it manufactures mortar ammunition (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm), artillery ammunition (76 mm, 90 mm, 105 mm, 122 mm, 130 mm, 152 mm, and 155 mm) and also tank ammunition (76 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm, and 125 mm). The product portfolio of Pretis also includes 122 mm, 128 mm and 262 mm artillery rockets, aircraft bombs and rifle grenades.
Established in 1950, BINAS located in Bugojno in central BiH makes all types of fuses for artillery shells, primers, hand grenades, 40 mm cartridges for grenade launchers, and demolition charges.
UNIS-GROUP also includes UNIS GINEX in Goražde, south-east of Sarajevo, which is responsible for the production of initiating means for military and commercial use. The production programme comprises percussion primers for small arms ammunition, primers, duplex and blasting caps, delay elements, electric primers intended for fuses, electric squibs, igniters and different types of initiating explosives and chemicals.
Within UNIS-GROUP, the production of explosives is entrusted to PS Vitezit, founded in 1950 in the central town of Vitez. The company produces different kinds of military and industrial explosives, rocket propellants, powders for mortar and artillery ammunition, as well as detonating fuses.
Outside state-owned UNIS-GROUP, two private-owned companies in Goražde are engaged in ammunition production. While POBJEDA TECHNOLOGY manufactures pistol, blank and sports ammunition, POBJEDA-RUDET produces electric and non-electric detonators, plain detonators and detonating cords.
Unlike some other former Warsaw Pact members, Bulgaria inherited substantial manufacturing capacities capable of producing an extensive range of ammunition for Soviet-era and current Russian weapons.
The oldest Bulgarian arms manufacturer (established in 1878) is Arsenal, a private-owned joint-stock company headquartered at Kazanlak. It is one of the largest machine-building companies in the country that produces sub-machine guns, assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, recoilless rifles, anti-aircraft guns and a wide range of ammunition.
The ammunition portfolio includes pistol and rifle rounds (5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and 9 mm), 23 mm and 30 mm rounds for anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23-2, ZSU-23-4 Shilka, AK-630), guns for infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) (2A42, 2A72) and aircraft weaponry (GSh-23, GSh-6-23, GSh-30, GSh-301). Arsenal also produces a large spectrum of 40×46 mm rounds for grenade launchers, reactive propelled grenades for the RPG-7 series of weapons, 73 mm rounds for recoilless guns and a wide-range of mortar bombs (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm). The company also offers the ARS-8KOM 80 mm unguided rocket and its training versions. Moreover, Arsenal manufactures anti-tank mines, different types of hand grenades and fuses, percussion primers for small arms and artillery ammunition, powders and charges for rocket engines, mortar bombs, artillery ammunition and grenade launcher ammunition.
Another key producer is Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi located in Sopot. Today, it is the only state-owned arms plant in Bulgaria. The company manufactures mostly Soviet-era ammunition such as rounds for the RPG-7, 73 mm rounds for the SPG-9 recoilless gun and the BMP-1 IFV, and tank ammunition (100 mm, 125 mm). It also manufactures mortar rounds (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm) and artillery (122 mm, 130 mm, 152 mm, and 155 mm) ammunition, 122 mm artillery rockets for the BM-21 Grad, anti-tank guided missiles (9M111M, 9M111-2, 9M113, 9M115), RPG-22, Bullspike anti-tank grenade launchers, S-5 and the S-8 series of unguided rockets and fuses.
The city of Ruse in northern Bulgaria is the home of ammunition manufacturer Dunarit. The main part of its product portfolio is composed of S-8KOM 80 mm unguided rockets and Soviet-era free-fall bombs for combat airplanes – high-explosive fragmentation (OFAB-100-120, OFAB-250-270, OFAB-500), high-explosive (FAB-500M-62), concrete piercing (BetAB-500), practice (P-50-70), and thermobaric (OFAB-100-120TB, OFAB-250-270TB, FAB-500M-62TB). The other section of the portfolio is made of large calibre (125 mm tank and 122 mm artillery rounds) and mortar ammunition (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm), as well as rounds for RPG-7. Dunarit also produces hand grenades and detonating cords.
The product range of the Arcus company includes small arms, grenade launchers, mortars, and ammunition along with fuses. Ammunition produced includes 23 mm and 30 mm rounds for anti-aircraft guns and IFVs, 30 mm and 40 mm grenades for under-barrel and single-shot/automatic grenade launchers, rounds for the RPG-7 and high-explosive mortar bombs (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm).
Moreover, a subsidiary of the Bulgarian state-owned company TEREM-HOLDING,
TEREM-Tsar Samuil, runs an ammunition maintenance facility for mortar and artillery rounds at its plant in Kostenets.
The Croatian defence industry developed during the country’s War of Independence (1991–1995) mostly from the existing civilian enterprises and to a lesser extent from companies that dealt with defence production within the former Yugoslavia.
One of the leading Croatian companies in the manufacture of military, hunting and sports ammunition is M90, which was established in 1990. The production facility, which is located at Duga Resa, south-west of Zagreb, makes pistol and revolver ammunition, hunting and sports shotgun shells, rimfire rounds and non-lethal riot control ammunition for police and law enforcement agencies.
Another Croatian small arms ammunition producer is Bullet, operating in Zagreb since 1993. Its specialisation is the production of ammunition for sports and hunting weapons (rifles, pistols and revolvers), the production of pistol bullets, the sale of ammunition and reloading components and the testing of ammunition characteristics and bulletproof materials.
The ammunition is also produced by the ATIR military research and development agency in Zagreb in the form of different types of 40×46 mm rounds (high-explosive, riot control, target marker and practice) for grenade launchers.
The sole Croatian large-calibre ammunition producer is Elmech Sintermak, which started with its manufacturing of ammunition in the northern region of Hrvatsko Zagorje in 2017. The portfolio includes 60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm high-explosive mortar rounds, as well as 105 mm, 122 mm and 155 mm high-explosive artillery ammunition. Elmech Sintermak also offers hand grenades, industrial explosives and sniper rifle ammunition.
The oldest Czech ammunition producer Sellier & Bellot in Vlašim has been manufacturing products bearing its trademark uninterrupted since 1825. In 2009, the company was acquired by Brazilian Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos. Sellier & Bellot manufactures pistol and revolver ammunition, sports and hunting ammunition, shotgun shells, rimfire rounds, as well as ammunition for armed and police forces (9×19 mm, 4.6×30 mm, 5.56×45 mm, 7.62×39 mm, 7.62×51 mm, and 7.62×54 mm).
The medium-calibre ammunition production is represented by ZVI with the plant in Vsetín that manufactures 20×102 mm rounds for aircraft guns and 30×173 mm, as well as 30×165 mm rounds for IFVs.
The largest ammunition producer in the territory of the Czech Republic is STV GROUP with its headquarters in Prague and five manufacturing facilities around the country. The company offers 14.5 mm machine gun ammunition, 30×165 mm rounds for IFVs, ammunition for the RPG-7, 73 mm PG-9V rounds, as well as tank ammunition (100 mm, 125 mm) and artillery ammunition (122 mm, 152 mm, 155 mm), 122 mm Grad rockets, as well as mortar bombs (81 mm, 82 mm, 120 mm) and anti-tank mines. In addition, STV GROUP is the largest Czech producer of plastic explosives, with an annual production of more than 100 tonnes.
Mortar ammunition (60 mm), 9 mm and 12.7 mm rounds, along with practice 40×46 mm grenades are also produced by the facility of Vojenský technický ústav in Slavičín.
ZEVETA Bojkovice produces, among others, URG-86 hand grenades, RPG-75M and RPG-75MP reactive anti-tank grenades, 68 mm RTG reactive thermobaric grenades together with DGO-1 and DGO-3 smoke cartridges. State-owned company Explosia, located at Semtín near Pardubice, is a crucial producer of explosives, detonating cords, spherical and nitrocellulose powders along with modular charges for 155 mm artillery rounds.
The largest Czech defence contractor Czechoslovak Group (CSG) had its ammunition production centred on its subsidiary MSM GROUP located in Slovakia. Moreover, CSG acquired a 70% share in the Italian small-calibre ammunition manufacturer Fiocchi Munizioni in early December 2022.
The primary Hungarian ammunition producer is MFS Ammunition with a factory in Sirok. The company was established in 1952 as Mátravidéki Fémművek. Its acquisition by Beretta Holding from RUAG Ammotech Group took place in August 2022. MFS Ammunition produces small-calibre ammunition such as .380 Auto, .38 Special, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 9×19 mm, 9×21 mm, 7,65Br, 9×18 mm, 7.62×39 mm, 7.62×54 mm and 5.56×45 mm SS109.
More recently, in January 2023, Rheinmetall commenced the construction of an ammunition factory for its subsidiary, Rheinmetall Hungary Munitions Zrt. The factory is being constructed at a new 150-hectare production site based in Várpalota, located in western Hungary. The site is intended to produce a variety of munitions, including 30×173 mm ammunition for Hungary’s Lynx IFVs, as well as 120 mm tank ammunition and 155 mm artillery ammunition. Full production capacity is scheduled to be reached in 2025.
The modest defence industry mostly relies on factories from the Yugoslav era. The sector includes enterprises such as the former state-owned TARA arms factory in Mojkovac and POLIEX in Berane.
TARA Aerospace is the manufacturer of pyrotechnical aviation cartridges, various types of ejection seat propulsion devices and automatic fire extinguishing systems for a wide range of aircraft. The ammunition portfolio includes ignition cartridges, fuses for 60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm high-explosive and smoke mortar shells.
POLIEX was established in 1982 as a factory specialising in the production of explosives. Today, the company produces hand grenades, commercial and military explosives, initiation devices and boosters, as well as chemical substances.
The sole active ammunition manufacturer in North Macedonia is ATS Ammunition (formerly Suvenir, established in 1981) situated in Samokov. The company has production lines for pistol, rifle and machine gun ammunition of calibres 9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm. The annual production capacity is over 120 million rounds of small-calibre ammunition.
The crucial role in Polish ammunition production is played by PGZ (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa), a holding company established by the Polish Government to unite several dozens of state-owned defence industry companies. Within the group, the ammunition manufacture is the responsibility of enterprises MESKO, NITRO-CHEM, DEZAMET, BELMA and GAMRAT.
MESKO, established in 1922 in Skarżysko-Kamienna, produces small-calibre ammunition (9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, and 12.7 mm), medium-calibre ammunition (20 mm, 23 mm, 30 mm, 35 mm), mortar rounds (98 mm), artillery ammunition (122 mm and 152 mm), tank ammunition (120 mm and 125 mm). The company also produces rockets and missiles (Grom and Pionrun MANPADS, Spike-LR anti-tank guided missiles, the NLPR-70 unguided rocket for combat aircraft and Feniks 122 mm artillery rocket).
The chemical and armament industry company NITRO-CHEM based in Bydgoszcz produces explosives (TNT, RDX, HMX), demolition blocks, anti-tank mines and Mk 82 500lb aircraft bombs. NITRO-CHEM also offers ammunition elaboration services.
DEZAMET at Nowa Dęba manufactures 40×46 mm grenades, 81 mm smoke grenades, mortar bombs (60 mm, 98 mm and 120 mm), 73 mm PG-15V rounds, 155 mm artillery ammunition, rifle grenades, hand grenades, fuses and LBĆw-10 practice aircraft bombs.
The origins of the company BELMA in Białe Błota date back to 1868. Today, BELMA manufactures MN-123 and MR-123 anti-tank mines, mining systems, including off-route anti-tank mines and MPD mines for mining of coastal waters.
The GAMRAT factory in Jasło produces rocket propellants, artillery nitroglycerine powders, various types of acoustic petards and smoke grenades.
As with Poland, the leading role in the Romanian arms industry, including ammunition production, is represented by a state-owned entity, namely ROMARM, which owns 15 factories and a research institute, a large part of which is engaged in the production of ammunition.
Powder production at Făgăraș started already in 1939. Today, Fabrica de Pulberi Făgăraș is the only manufacturer of explosives (TNT, RDX, PENT, and PHF-89) and solid propellants (for 122 mm Grad rockets and rocket-propelled grenades) in Romania.
In 2005, Carfil in Brașov started the production of NATO-compatible weapons and ammunition. The company now produces the RPG-7 launcher with corresponding rounds, the SPG-9M recoilless rifle and its 73 mm ammunition, mortars (60, 81, and 82 mm) and mortar bombs (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm).
Brașov in central Romania is also home to the METROM plant, the sole Romanian producer of copper sheet, copper tape and brass tape. METROM’s military portfolio encompasses cartridge cases and bullet cups for ammunition in calibres 9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 12.7 mm, 20 mm and 23 mm.
Pirochim Victoria, also in Brașov, produces propellant powders for ammunition. The facility can also perform ballistic tests and physical-chemical analysis of powders and nitrocellulose.
Uzina Mecanică Plopeni started producing ammunition in 1941. Today, it manufactures mostly medium and large-calibre ammunition for aircraft guns, IFVs, tank and artillery pieces (23 mm, 30 mm, 76 mm, 100 mm, 130 mm, and 152 mm), as well as 40 mm rounds for grenade launchers.
The military product portfolio of Uzina Mecanică Tohan is composed, among others, of 122 mm Grad rockets, 122 mm artillery ammunition, fuses for artillery rounds, as well as smoke and illuminating mortar bombs (60 mm, 81 mm, 82mm, and 120 mm).
Another subsidiary of ROMARM is Uzina Mecanică Mija, which manufactures ammunition for RPG-7 weapons and a wide-range of hand grenades.
Operating as the infantry ammunition factory since 1939, Uzina Mecanică Sadu carries out the manufacture of rounds for small arms such as 7.62×39 mm, 7.62×51 mm, 7.62×54 mm, 5.45×39 mm, 5.56×45 mm, 7.65×17 mm, 9×18 mm and 9×19 mm.
Uzina de Produse Speciale Dragomirești was established in 1981. The products manufactured by this company include NATO standard medium-calibre ammunition (20 mm, 25 mm, 30 mm, and 35 mm), 40×46 mm grenades, Mk 82 aircraft bombs, demolition blocks and plastic explosives.
Following the break-up of Yugoslavia, Serbia inherited a substantial arms industry sector capable of manufacturing a full spectrum of ammunition. Similar to some Central and Eastern European countries, a significant part of the Serbian defence industry is also owned by the state.
Ammunition factory Prvi Partizan located in Užice, some 200 km away from Belgrade, is composed of three production facilities that produce small-calibre ammunition for military, police and other security forces, as well as for hunting and sporting purposes. The military segment of the portfolio contains, among others, a wide range of 9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm ammunition.
Small-calibre ammunition is also produced by BELOM, which was established in December 2015 at Uzići. The company manufactures 9×19 mm, 7.62×39 mm and 12.7×108 mm rounds.
Holding company Krušik based in Valjevo produces M-75 and M-84 hand grenades, 40 mm rounds for under-barrel grenade launchers, mortar bombs (60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm, and 120 mm), and the 155 mm M107 high-explosive artillery round. The company also produces Maljutka 9M14P1-2T and 9M14P1-2F anti-tank guided missiles, unguided air-to-ground rockets (57mm, 80 mm, 128 mm), unguided artillery rockets (107 mm, 122 mm, 128 mm), FAB-100 M80 and FAB-250 M79 high-explosive aircraft bombs, as well as anti-tank mines.
Established in 1948 in Čačak, ammunition company Sloboda offers rifle grenades, 40×46 mm grenades, medium-calibre ammunition (20 mm, 23 mm, 30 mm, 37 mm, 40 mm, and 57 mm), large-calibre ammunition for tanks (100 mm, 125 mm) and artillery pieces (76 mm, 105 mm, 122 mm, 130 mm, 152 mm, 155 mm), as well as rounds for anti-tank rocket launchers (M79 Osa, M80 Zolja, M90 Stršljen).
The leading Serbian manufacturer of explosives is Prva Iskra-Namenska Proizvodnja in Barič. The production programme encompasses TNT, PETN, RDX, HMX, HNS, TNR, as well as various composites based on these explosives. The company also carries out ammunition dismantling.
Another Serbian explosives maker is Trayal based in Kruševac. The company manufactures tyres, protective devices, industrial explosives, pyrotechnics, thermobaric hand grenades and 120 mm thermobaric mortar ammunition.
Chemical manufacturing enterprise Milan Blagojević-Namenska with its headquarters in Lučani, manufactures nitrocellulose, single-base powder, spherical powder, along with double-base powder. The product portfolio also includes double-base rocket propellants and propellant charges for rocket motors, powder charges, combustible elements of powder charges, Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T) projectiles for tank ammunition, and celluloid containers for mortar shells.
EDePro from Belgrade is engaged in the production of turbojet engines, rocket motors, gas generators for artillery ammunition (76 mm to 155 mm) along with the modernisation of artillery rockets (107 mm, 122 mm, and 128 mm). It is also engaged in the development of guided and ballistic missiles (ALAS multi-role missile system, SAGR laser-guided missile, Pauk/Spider anti-tank missile, and Jerina-1 surface-to-surface missile).
The production of ammunition in Slovakia is represented by MSM GROUP. It owns a 50% share in ZVS holding (the rest belongs to the Slovak state through DMD GROUP) in Dubnica nad Váhom which produces medium-calibre ammunition (30 mm), mortar ammunition (60 mm, 81 mm, 98 mm, and 120 mm), artillery ammunition (122 mm, 152 mm, and 155 mm), tank ammunition (125 mm), 122 mm Grad rockets, impact fuses and ammunition components. The flagship of their production is the 155 mm artillery ammunition family that has been exported to more than 18 countries globally (such as Israel, Poland and Cyprus). MSM GROUP also operates the large-calibre ammunition maintenance plant in Nováky (MSM Nováky) and owns 14. OKTOBAR in Kruševac, Serbia (producing shell bodies for large-calibre ammunition), along with Spanish Fábrica de Municiones de Granada (105 mm tank ammunition, 106 mm rounds for recoilless guns, 105 mm and 155 mm artillery ammunition).
The sole representative of ammunition production in Slovenia is AREX Defense from Šentjernej, which manufactures plastic blank ammunition (9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, and 12.7 mm), dummy and drill cartridges (9 mm, 4.6 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 12.7 mm, .40, .45, and 12 gauge) and non-lethal rubber bullet ammunition (9 mm, 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm), as well as ammunition links and pistols.
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