Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory in Ukraine

March 5,2023 1362
Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory in Ukraine

The western allies have been laboriously scraping together tanks for Ukraine for months – but the country probably needs hundreds more. Rheinmetall is now negotiating with Kyiv about setting up its own Panther production facility, Spiegel reported on Saturday.

The armaments group Rheinmetall is negotiating the construction of a tank factory on Ukrainian soil. “A Rheinmetall plant can be set up in Ukraine for around €200 million,” company boss Armin Papperger told the Rheinische Post newspaper. It could produce up to 400 Panther-type main battle tanks annually. Papperger called the talks with the Ukrainian government “promising” and hopes for a decision “within the next two months.”

The Rheinmetall boss was convinced the plant could be protected against Russian air raids. “Protection by anti-aircraft defense would not be difficult.” He emphasized that Ukraine needs 600 to 800 tanks for a victory. For the crowd to come together, the new tanks construction would have to start quickly. “Even if Germany gave up all 300 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Bundeswehr, that would still be far too few.”

Rheinmetall: The war will “probably last for years”

Currently, Rheinmetall is making around 250 tanks available in connection with the war in Ukraine: “We are working at full speed,” said Papperger. “We have already made more than 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles operational, and by the end of the year, there will be around 100. Around 30 tanks are ready out of 50 Leopard 2A4s. There are also around 100 older Leopard 1 models, of which we can currently make 88 usable again.”

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

The Panther is a concept for a new tank. Rheinmetall presented it in the summer of 2022.

Photo: Rheinmetall Panther tank at an armaments fair in France. Benoit Tessier / REUTERS