The Ethiopian Ministry of Defense is exploring all feasible options to manufacture military ammunition, officials say. Tawazun, an Emirati company, failed to show up for their scheduled assessment visit after an initial meeting about building an ammunition factory took place, according to the Ministry.
State Minister of Defense Martha Luwiji told the Foreign and Peace Affairs Standing Committee of the Parliament that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) company to establish an ammunition factory but that the arrangement was fruitless.
After Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) visited Abu Dhabi in June 2018, the UAE and Ethiopia agreed to strengthen their defense ties. The deal between Tawazun and the Ministry occurred when the two countries’ relationship was at its strongest.
According to the earlier agreement, the company will send a team of professionals to Ethiopia in September 2022 to inspect the facility, as Martha explains. Nevertheless, experts were unable to go for a number of reasons that she could not specify, so the Ministry sought local solutions instead.
As a result, the government chose to have the Gafat Armament Engineering Factory manufacture all basic ammunition, and they are currently making preparations for full domestic operation.
Martha said that the Ministry has 81 different kinds of machinery that could be used to make ammunition for the AK-103. Within the past six months, an excess of 61 distinct types of ammunition replacement parts had begun, and their production would be increased in the future, she stated.
Martha reports that the infrastructure required for the Homicho ammunition plant expansion project, including the installation of facility machinery, testing, and commissioning, has been completed. The process of acquiring two machines from overseas is also ongoing.
The State Minister informed the Committee that the inputs for a rocket prototype have been finished and that work on the rocket project design and rocket prototype production facility has begun.
Plans are also in the works to export innovations as well as use them locally.
To carry out Abiy’s direction to supply the Army and Air Force with locally manufactured military equipment, the Ethiopian Defense University is performing a plethora of inspections and inquiries.
Working with an Indian company, the government also develops designs and specifications for prosthetic limbs.
The Ethiopian Defense Foundation has signed a MoU to form a joint venture with a UAE-based firm, IGG, to provide the army’s uniform and shoe needs. It is currently awaiting the arrival of a delegation from IGG in Addis Ababa for further negotiations, according to Martha, who says that once an agreement was struck between the companies, manufacturing would begin at the Adama Garment factory to supply the domestic market and export to other countries.
Martha claimed that the defense force trained over 69,000 military officers in various training institutions in the last six months of the fiscal year and that military ammunition factories produced over 2.6 million basic firearms and bullets and over 246 million medium and heavy weapon bullets.
The Ministry of Defense has made more than 2.3 billion birr from military services and products sold both abroad and at home during the first six months of the existing fiscal year, she says.