Rheinmetall: Repair of Leopard tanks takes a year
The federal government is considering supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. But Kyiv has to be patient. The armaments group Rheinmetall cannot deliver before 2024.
The German armaments group Rheinmetall has pointed out that it will take time to deliver repaired Leopard main battle tanks from its stocks to Ukraine.
“Even if the decision is made tomorrow that we can send our Leopard tanks to Kyiv, delivery will take until the beginning of next year,” said CEO Armin Papperger of “Bild am Sonntag”.
Rheinmetall has 22 Leopard 2 vehicles and 88 of the older Leopard 1 model, the newspaper reported, citing Papperger. The Rheinmetall boss said that the repair of the decommissioned battle tanks would take “almost a year”. “The vehicles are not only repainted, but have to be converted for a war effort. They are completely dismantled and then rebuilt.” Rheinmetall cannot repair the tanks without an order because the costs are several hundred million euros. “Rheinmetall cannot pre-finance that,” said Papperger.
The pressure on the federal government to deliver Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine had increased recently. On Wednesday, Poland had declared its willingness to provide Ukraine, together with allies, with Leopard 2 main battle tanks for defense against Russia. Finland showed cautious readiness for delivery on Thursday. Germany plays a key role in the debate because the tanks were developed in Germany. As a rule, the transfer of armaments from German production to third parties must be approved.