Some fear bullets in short supply PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN

February 13, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and allied troops in the Persian Gulf face potentially serious ammunition shortages in a ground war, according to congressional, Pentagon and arms industry sources.

For some munitions, less than a 10-day anticipated wartime supply is available anywhere in U.S. stocks, according to one government official familiar with ammunition inventories. For RTC others, the substitute round that troops will use once the preferred munition runs out is dramatically inferior.

"We've got a lot of everything except the bullets we need to shoot," Sen. Alan J. Dixon, D-Ill., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness, said in an interview yesterday.

"We are either going to win this war or run out of munitions," said an ammunition specialist briefed on current ammunition requests.

On the critically needed list are some varieties of tank and artillery shells, machine gun bullets, rockets, mortars and other so-called "dumb munitions" consumed by ground troops in great quantities, according Pentagon, industry and congressional sources.

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