Concentrated power for Ukraine
15. August 2023
21. September 2023
Major deliveries of military matériel and extensive logistical support make Rheinmetall one of Ukraine’s most important backers in its fight to defend itself 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 May 2023 Rheinmetall therefore announced a strategic cooperation agreement with Ukraine’s state-owned Ukroboronprom. As a first step, repair and maintenance of combat vehicles is planned, to be followed by production in Ukraine of armoured vehicles like the Fuchs/Fox armoured transport vehicle, the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle and Panther main battle tank. 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 aid 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. The first lot of 35mm ammunition for the Gepard antiaircraft tank was already delivered in early September. Out of the total of 300,000 rounds earmarked for Ukraine, tens of thousands will be produced and ready for shipment by the end of the year. Moreover, Rheinmetall is a vital strategic source of 155mm artillery ammunition for Ukraine, having already supplied the embattled country with tens of thousands of rounds, with more on the way.
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. Acting on behalf of the German government, Rheinmetall shipped the first of twenty Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine back in March 2023. A second lot of twenty Marder IFVs, ordered in June 2023, also shipped recently. In addition to the forty IFVs already delivered, in September 2023 the German government awarded the Düsseldorf-based technology group another major contract, bringing to eighty the total number of Marder IFVs ordered for Ukraine. Delivery of the overhauled Marder 1A3 IFVs, drawn from surplus Bundeswehr stocks, will take place soon. Work on the vehicles is already proceeding apace at several Rheinmetall locations. Additional vehicles are available for follow-up call-offs.
Leopard 1 and 2 MBTs
The potential for supplying Ukraine with Leopard 1 tanks is also substantial: Rheinmetall is capable of furnishing scores of these tried-and-tested vehicles. The Leopard 2 is advancing as well. In addition to Ringtausch programmes with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Rheinmetall is supplying Ukraine with these tanks, financed in this case by the Dutch and Danish governments. In addition, a contract has been awarded for maintaining these combat vehicles, another example of Rheinmetall’s wide-ranging support of the Ukrainian war effort.
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 8×8 swap body trucks, hundreds of which have already been introduced by the Bundeswehr. Once Ukrainian troops have been trained to use them, the Skynex systems will be shipped without delay.
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 in action, service and maintenance support is indispensable. To keep Western-made systems operational and assure adequate logistical support, Rheinmetall is establishing a maintenance and logistics centre at Satu Mare in Romania, a fellow NATO member nation. In future, the hub will also be available to service armoured vehicles and logistic trucks belonging to NATO armed forces in the region. Furthermore, additional maintenance hubs run in cooperation with partners are now available in Ukraine and Lithuania.
Field hospitals and aid stations
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.
At the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, Rheinmetall Mobile Systeme GmbH will transfer two more high-mobility aid stations to Ukraine.
Augmenting this extensive support package is the SurveilSPIRE mobile reconnaissance system, which is equipped with day-and-night-capable cameras and autopiloted mini drones. Five SurveilSPIRE airspace surveillance systems were supplied in 2022, with another five ordered in 2023. Rheinmetall is cooperating here with an Estonian partner company.
These capabilities will be augmented following delivery to Ukraine of recently ordered LUNA NG reconnaissance drones. The Ukrainian armed forces will be deploying these systems within a matter of weeks.
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.