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Rheinmetall Poised to Open Armor Plant in Ukraine in Record-Breaking Time

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Panther KF51 main battle tank will be likely produced in Ukraine, too / Illustrative photo credit: Rheinmetall
Panther KF51 main battle tank will be likely produced in Ukraine, too / Illustrative photo credit: Rheinmetall

The German company plans to launch the new facility for making Fuchs, tanks and other armored vehicles this year already

German defense industrial giant Rheinmetall created a joint venture with the JSC Ukrainian Defense Industry only this year, now wants to open the armor-producing factory by the end of it. These plans were revealed by Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger in an interview to CNN.

The whole process, as follows from his words, should take a record-breaking time of 12 weeks, or three months. The plant will be situated in the western part of Ukraine.

Read more: The Head of Rheinmetall Disclosed Details of Weapons Production in Ukraine

Papperger said the main field of activity would be construction and repair of Fuchs armored personnel carriers.

On a note from Defense Express, this will become an important challenge for the Ukrainian defense industry that will put to the test all the critical aspects of such cooperation: from logistics and production itself to financial and management issues.

Besides producing Fuchs, "Germany’s biggest arms maker will also train Ukrainians to maintain the tanks and other armored vehicles made in the factory," CNN notes.

Much likely, it refers to the advanced KF51 Panther main battle tank. As a reminder, earlier Rheinmetall said it expected to produce 400 tanks of this type a year in Ukraine. Although we should note that these figures should not be expected from the get-go. The production on the new plant starts with low-intensity manufacture, gradually increasing up to the planned values.

That is not to mention that KF51 Panther is yet rather a concept of a tank than a product ready for serial production. It lacks chassis and requires optionality in terms of armor and main armament.

KF51 Panther prototype on Lynx chassis
KF51 Panther prototype on Lynx chassis. However, the final solution to what kind of chassis this MBT will use as primary, has not yet been decided upon / Photo credit: Rheinmetall

Another question regarding building the plant in Ukraine is how to ensure its protection from russian missile strikes. Rheinmetall CEO earlier stated Ukrainians know how to protect such facilities, and reaffirmed it in the interview:

"There are a lot of factories at the moment which are producing military goods [in Ukraine – ed. by CNN]. It is just another one – and we can protect that also," Armin Papperger said, commenting on the risk of setting up a defense industry enterprise in a country at war.

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