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German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory in Ukraine

Panther KF51 main battle tank developed by Rheinmetall. Illustrative photo: www.rheinmetall-defence.com

The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall wants to build a tank factory in Ukraine, and is now negotiating with Kyiv about setting up the Panther KF51 tank production facility, the German newspaper Rheinische Post reported.

“A Rheinmetall plant can be built in Ukraine for around 200 million euros,” Armin Papperger, head of the German armaments group Rheinmetall, told the Rheinische Post, according to Spiegel. It could produce up to 400 Panther-type main battle tanks annually.

The talks with the Ukrainian government are “promising,” and Papperger hoped for a decision “within the next two months.”

The Rheinmetall boss was convinced that protection of the factory against Russian air raids “would not be difficult.”

Ukraine needs 600 to 800 tanks for a victory, he noted, so the construction of new tanks would have to start quickly:

“Even if Germany gave up all of its 300 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Bundeswehr, that would still be far too few.”

Papperger says Rheinmetall is currently making around 250 tanks available:

“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.”

Armin Papperger believes that Ukraine needs more equipment to liberate all of its Russian-occupied territories:

“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.”

The Panther KF51 is a concept for a new tank that Rheinmetall presented in the summer of 2022.

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