06/02/2024 | Story
Rheinmetall: A powerful partner at Ukraine’s side
Story dated 20.07.2023
Major deliveries of military material and extensive logistical support make Rheinmetall Ukraine's most important defence industry partner in the fight against Russian aggression. Thanks to its massive production capacity, the Düsseldorf-based tech enterprise is able not only to furnish vital products like ammunition. It can also draw on its extensive technology portfolio to aid Ukraine’s struggle for national survival.
In addition to short-term shipments of military hardware, in the long run Ukraine will need help in re-establishing its own defence industry and reorienting its production to western standards. In October 2023, Rheinmetall therefore founded a joint venture with the Ukrainian state-owned company Ukrainian Defense Industry JSC (formerly Ukroboronprom) in Kiev - Rheinmetall Ukrainian Defense Industry LLC. Currently, maintenance and repair work is already being carried out on military vehicles; in a second step, armoured vehicles are also to be manufactured in Ukraine, for example Fuchs/Fox armoured transport vehicles, Lynx infantry fighting vehicles and Panther main battle tanks. The objective is to turn Ukraine into an efficient partner, to rebuild its once powerful defence sector, and to assure its strategic autonomy.
What Rheinmetall is doing to Support Ukraine
Rheinmetall is now the sole defence contractor capable of supplying the Ukrainian military with large amounts of new medium- and large-calibre ammunition, including 20mm for the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, 40mm ammunition, as well as 105mm for the Leopard 1 and 120mm tank ammunition for the Leopard 2.
By the end of 2023, 40,000 of the total 300,000 rounds of 35mm ammunition for the Gepard antiaircraft tank were also manufactured and delivered.
Moreover, Rheinmetall is an essential, strategic partner of Ukraine for the supply of 155mm artillery ammunition - several tens of thousands of rounds have already been delivered, with tens of thousands more to follow in 2024. In December 2023, the German government also placed an order with Rheinmetall to supply several tens of thousands of rounds in 2025.
In addition to Germany, another NATO member state has commissioned Rheinmetall to supply Ukraine with large quantities of 155 ammunition. The projectiles will be manufactured by the Spanish manufacturer Rheinmetall Expal Munitions and are to be delivered in 2025.
Rheinmetall is also providing Ukraine with substantial support in the combat vehicle domain, either through multilateral Ringtausch exchange programmes with partner nations like Greece, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, or via direct transfers.
By the end of 2023, Rheinmetall had delivered more than 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Further deliveries in the double-digit range will follow in 2024.
Leopard 1 and 2 MBTs
Rheinmetall has been contracted to supply 25 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine, plus five armoured recovery vehicles and two Leopard 1 driving school tanks. Delivery is scheduled for 2024, with the corresponding work taking place in Unterlüß and Kassel.
On behalf of the Dutch and Danish governments, Rheinmetall is supplying 14 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. Two of these battle tanks have already been delivered for training the Ukrainian armed forces. The remaining vehicles will be handed over this year.
As part of the already completed Ringtausch exchange programmes with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the maintenance of the combat vehicles has also been commissioned. Overall, Rheinmetall is supporting Ukraine's defence campaign with a comprehensive range of main battle tank services.
The success of the 35mm Gepard antiaircraft tank in Ukraine underscores the effectiveness of cannon-based air defence, especially against cruise missiles and drones. Upholding this tradition is Rheinmetall’s state-of-the-art Skynex, which is also a cannon-based system. It is designed for very close-range air defence operations, where guided missiles are ineffective. Using programmable 35mm Ahead airburst ammunition, developed by Rheinmetall precisely for this purpose, is significantly less costly than comparable guided missile-based systems. Moreover, it is impossible to influence or deflect 35mm rounds with electronic countermeasures.
The Skynex systems are mounted on new Rheinmetall HX 8x8 swap body trucks, hundreds of which have already been introduced by the Bundeswehr.
Last year, the first Skynex system was handed over to the Ukrainian armed forces. The delivery of Skynex systems will continue throughout 2024.
Made by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, HX trucks are among the most widely used military logistic vehicles worldwide, with a global reputation for durability, offroad mobility, user-friendliness and modularity that sets them apart from industry rivals.
At present nearly 100 Rheinmetall-made trucks are operating in Ukraine, which recently took delivery of 26 more brand new ones straight from the factory.
Service and logistical support
Wherever military equipment is used, service and maintenance support is indispensable. In Lithuania, Rheinmetall operates a joint maintenance and repair centre with KNDS in order to maintain the operational readiness of Western combat systems and ensure their logistical support. Vehicles of the Ukrainian armed forces are also repaired there. In NATO partner country Romania, Rheinmetall has set up a military maintenance and logistics centre at its site in Satu Mare. In addition, maintenance and repair capacities have been created in Ukraine. The relevant personnel were trained in Germany.
Field hospital and aid station
In cooperation with the German government, Group subsidiary Rheinmetall Mobile Systeme GmbH supplied the Ukrainian military with a turnkey field hospital in August 2023. It includes 32 patient beds, eight of them for intensive care, as well as top-of-the-line medical and intensive care equipment. It was only at the end of 2022 that Rheinmetall received the order. Equating to a German county hospital, this combined tent- and container-based system is a complete, entirely autarkic medical corps facility, fully compliant with NATO Role 2 standards.
In August 2023 ten Ukrainian troops completed a 14-day training in Germany where they learned to assemble, disassemble and operate the mobile field hospital. They returned to their respective areas of operation as soon as they completed the course.
In addition, Rheinmetall handed over a rescue station (NATO Role 1 standard) to Ukraine in December 2023. A second rescue station will follow in the first quarter of 2024
Reconnaissance systems for drone defence
Drone defence plays a crucial role in the defence of Ukraine. The extensive support services for the country are therefore supplemented by SurveilSPIRE mobile reconnaissance systems. They can reconnoitre and combat enemy drones. The systems include mobile surveillance towers with day and night vision camera equipment, autopiloted mini drones and a command and control system. Ten SurveilSPIREs have already been delivered. The delivery of further reconnaissance systems has been ordered by the German government. Rheinmetall is cooperating with an Estonian partner company on these systems.
The equipment delivered to date underscores Rheinmetall’s role as a key source of military support for the Ukrainian armed forces, making the company a mainstay of European defence architecture and a guarantor of freedom and democracy.