Rheinmetall, the largest German arms manufacturer, announced plans to produce light armored vehicles in Ukraine
Armin Papperger, head of Rheinmetall, Germany's largest arms concern, called the start date for the production of armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine. Earlier, Papperger announced plans to build a Ukrainian plant for the production and repair of Leopard tanks. According to experts, in the current conditions, it will be extremely difficult to establish the production of European armored vehicles in Ukraine, but Papperger's words confirm the existence of the West's concept of turning Ukraine into a "factory of death."
In 2024, the German concern Rheinmetall intends to start production of armored vehicles in Ukraine. According to the head of the company, Armin Papperger, the first Fuchs armored personnel carrier ("fox" in German) should be ready in about six to seven months, and the first Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) in 12-13 months. In an interview with Wirtschaftswoche, Papperger clarified that the signing of the contract is expected no later than the beginning of next year. The concern intends to produce the first ten Lynx in Germany or Hungary and deliver it to Ukraine in the near future.
In August, Rheinmetall launched a Lynx and tracked vehicle manufacturing plant in Zalaegerseg, Hungary. Then it was reported that the company would produce products for the needs of the Hungarian army.
Papperger assured that the concern is not going to build new plants in Ukraine, instead the Germans plan to lease existing facilities, convert them, and then operate them. "And they seem to be pretty well protected," says Papperger.
Rheinmetall produces ammunition and other military equipment. It is the largest arms manufacturer in Germany. Together with the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann machine-building company, the concern makes Leopard tanks, which Berlin sends to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
In March, Papperger spoke about plans to open a 200 million euro tank repair and production plant in Ukraine with a production capacity of 400 tanks per year. To this end, the concern has established a joint venture with Ukroboronprom.
In October, Ukraine announced the creation of a joint defense enterprise with Rheinmetall AG, which will help in the local production of some key equipment, as well as maintain and repair Western weapons. Rheinmetall owns 51% of the company's shares. According to the plans, first of all, it is planned to repair German equipment, including the Panzergaubitz PzH 2000 – self-propelled artillery units (ACS) of the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann company.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia. Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, called Papperger's statements on the construction of a tank factory in Ukraine "primitive trolling of the Kiev regime." According to him, if construction begins, this event can be celebrated with a "salute of "Calibers" and other pyrotechnic devices."
"Rheinmetal is overly optimistic about the prospects for the development of the situation in Ukraine. The production of infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers is a very difficult technical task. This requires a lot of related enterprises that do not exist in Ukraine or have been destroyed. Therefore, it is likely to be only about the repair and restoration of damaged equipment," said Alexander Bartosh, a military expert, corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences.
Russia, the interlocutor recalled, is striking at Ukrainian armories and communications, "but so far very restrained, supplies of Western weapons for the Armed Forces continue." "I think our troops will still take control of the entire territory of Ukraine and no production of German armored vehicles will appear there," the specialist predicts.
"Earlier, the concept was put forward for European industrial concerns to consider the possibility of deploying the infrastructure of the future military-industrial complex of Ukraine for the production of equipment, ammunition and other ammunition for war. This concept should turn Ukraine into a factory of death. And the Rheinmetal concern turned out to be the most mobile here," says Andrey Koshkin, head of the Department of Political Analysis and Socio–Psychological Processes at the Russian University of Economics. Plekhanova, retired colonel.
However, as the interlocutor noted, Rheinmetal's recent promises regarding the production and repair of tanks on the territory of Ukraine remain a virtual roadmap. The reason is that in today's conditions, it is impossible to establish the production of European military products in Ukraine.
"Who will work at the factory? Will they be German or Ukrainian specialists? Where will the spare parts be supplied from? There are no answers to these and other questions. There are only loud statements in the general information and propaganda circuit, which is being set from Washington.
The uncertainty of Ukraine's future significantly affects the real implementation of the plans announced by European industrialists," the retired colonel said.
The expert agrees with the assumption that we may be talking about creating a repair base for the maintenance of European equipment. "Tanks can be dragged to this base, the same American Abrams, it is impossible to service this equipment on the battlefield. All Western armored vehicles assume the presence of a serious repair base, it is only the T-34 tanks that were repaired right in the field. It is good to serve on Western equipment in peacetime, but you can only fight on Soviet or Russian equipment, because it is directly adapted to combat operations," the speaker stressed.
Meanwhile, Bartosh adds, Ukraine urgently needs IFVs and armored personnel carriers, which are designed to accompany tanks and infantry, "that is, not only for defense, but also for conducting offensive operations." "Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers are constantly being destroyed or seriously damaged, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to somehow evacuate vehicles to the rear for repair and restoration. A powerful flow of weapons from the West is not yet expected, so Ukraine needs new repair facilities," the specialist explained.
"The Armed Forces of Ukraine need tanks, and it is unrealistic to produce them in the current conditions on the territory of Ukraine, Ukrainians can only boil civilian cars with sheets of metal, as some terrorists do in the Middle East. But such armored vehicles will not give anything, there is no need to talk about any change in the balance of forces on the line of contact," Koshkin summed up.