A base for repairing western military equipment in service in the Ukrainian Army has opened in the city of Kosice in eastern Slovakia, Bild reports.
The launch of the base was announced by Brigadier General Christian Freuding, the head of the special headquarters for Ukraine at the German Ministry of Defense.
“With the new repair center near the border of Slovakia with Ukraine, the governments and the arms industry want to ensure the continued use of heavy weapons to repel Russia’s aggressive war,” Freuding said.
The German tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) is currently organizing the repair of large equipment that has been worn out or damaged in the fighting in Ukraine, such as Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers, in the region.
Such a base for repairing Panzerhaubitze 2000 is greatly needed. Less than 50% of these weapons, considered to the among the best-performing of their kind, are on the battlefield at any given time, as they must be taken to Lithuania for servicing, Wall Street Journal reported. Germany has so far delivered 14 such weapons, and the Netherlands another five.
Other artillery systems crucial to Ukraine’s offensive, such as France’s Caesar and the British-made M777, are also repaired outside Ukraine.
The US and Britain service the arms they donated to Ukraine in Poland, near the Ukrainian border. However, Warsaw has refused Germany to open up a servicing border in Poland, requesting instead that confidential technical information is provided to a Polish state-controlled company to do the work, which is why Berlin opened the center in Slovakia, instead.
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is in need of frequent repairs because Ukrainian troops use it so frequently, many times over the 100 recommended limit of shots.
This is because there are not enough howitzers, which is why each one has a higher rate of operation than recommended, Defense Express writes:
“A higher rate means more frequent repairs. And the only logical solution in this situation, oddly enough, is to multiply the number of PzH 2000 in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which can lead to a reduction in the load on each one. But whether Berlin will do this, for which even 15 PzH 2000 out of 121 available as of 2021 is 12%, is quite a debatable issue.”