German armaments group: Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory in Ukraine

Status: 04.03.2023 3:25 p.m

The “Panther” main battle tank is considered to be one of the most modern weapon systems in the world. It is manufactured by the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall. He wants to set up a tank factory in Ukraine. 400 pieces per year are possible.

The armaments group Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory on Ukrainian soil. The plant could be built for around 200 million euros, said company boss Armin Papperger of the “Rheinische Post”.

Up to 400 “Panther” type battle tanks could be produced there every year and the plant protected against Russian attacks with an air defense system. “Anti-aircraft protection would not be difficult.” The “Panther” was presented in 2022 and is one of the most modern weapon systems in the world. According to several media reports, no army has used it so far, and Ukraine would be the first customer.

Rheinmetall boss Papperger wants to set up arms production in Ukraine.

Image: picture alliance/dpa

“600 to 800 tanks needed to win”

Papperger had previously spoken publicly about the tank plans. Now he announced that the talks with the Ukrainian government were “promising”. He hopes for a decision “in the next two months”. The Ukraine needs 600 to 800 tanks for a victory, stressed the Rheinmetall boss. In order for the crowd to come together, the construction of new tanks would have to start quickly. “Even if Germany gave up all of the 300 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Bundeswehr, that would still be far too few.”

According to Rheinmetall, it has so far made around 250 tanks available in connection with the Ukraine war: “We’re working at full speed,” said Papperger. “We have already made more than 40 ‘Marder’ infantry fighting vehicles operational, by the end of the year there will be around 100. Of the 50 ‘Leopard 2 A4’, around 30 tanks are ready. There are also around 100 ‘Leopard 1’ of older design, from which we from today’s point of view, 88 can be made usable again.”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to fire on such a tank factory on Telegram. “The event will be marked with a proper salute from ‘Kalibr’ and other pyrotechnics,” he wrote. “Kalibr” are cruise missiles that are primarily fired from ships. The Russian Black Sea Fleet had used them intensively in recent months to shell Ukrainian power plants.

Rheinmetall boss expects longer war

Papperger expects the war in Ukraine to “probably last for years.” “While the western allies are sending enough weapons there for Ukraine to defend itself, the Ukrainians don’t have enough equipment today to fully retake their territory.” At the same time, Russia does not have as many resources as the West as a whole, said the Rheinmetall boss. But he couldn’t see “that the leadership around Putin is making cutbacks in its aggressive course towards Ukraine.”

According to Rheinmetall, it has hired 1,200 new employees since the beginning of the war. The company has around 30,000 employees worldwide, around half of them in Germany.

The armaments group, which produces military vehicles, ammunition and air defense systems, among other things, is also growing in other areas. A new ammunition factory is being built in Hungary, and the company is taking over an ammunition manufacturer in Spain. For the coming years, Rheinmetall is anticipating sales growth of 15 to 20 percent per year in the military business.

Promotion to the DAX

The Rheinmetall share price has almost doubled since the outbreak of the Ukraine war a good year ago, and the company is worth almost eleven billion euros on the stock exchange. On Friday, Deutsche Börse announced that the armaments manufacturer would be included in the leading German index DAX. Rheinmetall is replacing the dialysis specialist Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), whose shares have been listed in the DAX without interruption since 1999. FMC is relegated to the MDAX for this.

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