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Rheinmetall overhauls two of 14 Leopard tanks for Ukraine in nine months

Rheinmetall has finished the overhaul of two Leopard 2A4 tanks for Ukraine, as part of a 14-tank commitment announced by the Netherlands and Denmark in April 2023.
Leopard tank
The Leopard 2A4 tank purchased for Ukraine by the Netherlands and Denmark, January 2024. Credit: The Dutch Ministry of Defense

The Dutch Ministry of Defense has confirmed the completion of extensive repairs on two Leopard 2A4 tanks for Ukraine, undertaken by the German defense firm Rheinmetall. These repairs are part of a larger commitment of 14 tanks, jointly announced by Denmark and the Netherlands in April 2023. Notably, the process has taken longer than expected, with the first two tanks requiring nine months for overhaul.

The Leopard 2A4 tanks, acquired from external sources rather than the countries’ own reserves, required significant refurbishment. According to Defense Express, this lengthy repair time, executed by Rheinmetall, highlights the current operational capacity of the German defense industry, contrasting with the faster production rates during the 1980s when up to 300 Leopard 2A4s were produced annually.

Accompanying photographs show the tanks post-overhaul, indicating that they have undergone major repairs without additional modernization, Defense Express reported. This suggests a similarly extended timeline for the remaining 12 tanks, which the Dutch Ministry indicates will be ready “in the coming months.”

The precise start date of Rheinmetall’s work on these tanks is not specified, but it is likely to have followed the government’s announcement, with initial expectations of delivery by early 2024 now delayed. Defense Express concluded that this situation underscores the current capabilities of the European defense sector within NATO.

Lithuania is also engaged in the repair of Leopard tanks for Ukraine, specifically those damaged on the frontline. These repairs are conducted by the Lithuania Defense Services, a joint venture established in 2022 by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. In December, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced the completion of repairs on Leopard 2 tanks and confirmed preparations to send these armored vehicles back to the front.

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