The German company wants to export its state-of-the-art tanks to the country regardless of Western military support for Ukraine. However, it could possibly not be delivered until next year.
The Düsseldorf-based armaments company Rheinmetall is in talks with the Ukrainian government about the delivery of state-of-the-art “Panther” tanks. The head of the company, Armin Papperger, explained this in an interview with the Handelsblatt. Kyiv has also expressed interest in the “Lynx” infantry fighting vehicle.
Germany suddenly alone: European partners cancel tank deliveries
The modern tank “Panther” was presented last year at a fair in the French capital Paris. No army has copies of the tank yet, it is only available as a demonstration model. Its production is planned either in Germany or Hungary. However, delivery can only take place in 15 to 18 months. The federal government still has to approve the export.
Rheinmetall plans to send the first 20 to 25 Leopard 1 battle tanks to Ukraine this year.
By the end of 2024, the remaining 88 units that Rheinmetall has could be delivered, Papperger explained on Tuesday at the Europe 2023 conference in Berlin. Last week, the federal government approved the export of Leopard 1 main battle tanks for the industry. In addition to Rheinmetall, the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) also has weapon systems of this type.
The “Leopard 1” is the first main battle tank built for the Bundeswehr after the Second World War. 4,700 examples were produced from 1965 to the mid-1980s. The Bundeswehr retired its last Leopard 1 tanks 20 years ago.
Rheinmetall and the FFG must first repair their “Leopard 1” for export to the Ukraine. “If we had decided in March that these vehicles should all be upgraded, it would have been faster,” criticized Papperger.
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