Rheinmetall's CEO Armin Papperger in an interview revealed that his company was in talks with Ukraine to build a new armor plant with a potential to produce up to 400 KF51 Panther tanks that appear to be promising on the global arms market.
The estimated value of the deal is EUR 200 million to build the plant, the negotiations should take a few months.
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Papperger explains this decision with the fact that Ukraine needs at least 800 more tanks to take victory over the russian federation, and this many vehicles are nowhere to be found. Even if take all of the Leopard 2 tanks available to Bundeswehr, the result will be no more than 300 vehicles at most.
This is where the idea of a brand new plant is born, with all the necessary air defense cover provided.
If we look at the offer from the point of arms market conquest, Rheinmetall's CEO is absolutely rational. Although we should keep in mind that the KF51 Panther currently exists only as an "exhibit" model, to display modern technologies. It might take years to make it a full-fledged combat vehicles. Nonetheless, Ukraine looks at the prospect with interest, given the scale of challenge taken by the German arms maker to rearm the Ukrainian Army.
Incidentally, we should also recall that Rheinmetall demonstrated one more interesting project in February 2022. It was the Lynx 120 fire support vehicle made of Leopard 2 turret and the chassis from Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle.
At the moment, this combat vehicle exists only on paper, and back in February 2022, Rheinmetall targeted its new development for those countries that already have the Lynx KF41 in service or was planning to buy it.
We have no data on how much the project progressed over the past year and it looks like a paradox, considering that a light tank as a kind of weapon is going through its "renessaince" these days.
Maybe, a combat vehicle with a tank turret, a 120mm gun and a chassis from IFV looks "too hybrid" to find a place on a battlefield.
But who knows, maybe the expected Ukrainian spring counteroffensive campaign shows how much modern warfare really needs mobile weapons with this kind of firepower. And the Lynx 120 project turns from theoretical to practical and has a quick debut in Ukraine's battle grounds.
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