German arms concern Rheinmetall is negotiating the construction of a tank factory in Ukraine.
Source: Armin Papperger, the company’s Chief Executive, as European Pravda reports with reference to German news publication Der Spiegel.
"The Rheinmetall plant can be built in Ukraine for about 200 million euros," Papperger said.
He said that the plant could produce up to 400 Panther main battle tanks per year. He called the talks with the Ukrainian government "promising." Papperger hopes for a solution "within the next two months."
Panther is the concept for a new tank, which the Rheinmetall concern presented in summer 2022. This is a development based on the Leopard 2 and is most convenient for countries that already have Leopards in service. In the following months, Ukraine should receive first such tanks from the allies.
Rheinmetall’s CEO is convinced that the plant can be protected from Russian air raids. "Protection by air defence won't be difficult," he said.
Papperger believes that Ukraine needs from 600 to 800 tanks to win the war. "Even if Germany gives up all 300 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Bundeswehr, it will still be too few," he said.
Currently, Rheinmetall produces about 250 tanks per year. "We are working at full speed. We have already put more than 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles into operation, and by the end of the year, there will be about 100 of them. Of the 50 Leopard 2A4 tanks, about 30 are ready. There are also about 100 older Leopard 1 models, 88 of which we can make usable again from today's perspective," Papperger said.
He believes that the war will last "probably for years." "The Western allies are sending enough weapons there for Ukraine to defend itself, but today the Ukrainians do not have enough equipment to fully reclaim their territory," he explained.