According to Papperger, the armaments group still has 22 vehicles from the Leopard 2 and 88 vehicles from the Leopard 1.
The German armaments group Rheinmetall could not deliver repaired Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine until 2024 at the earliest. Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, said to “Bild am Sonntag”: “Even if the decision is made tomorrow that we can send our Leopard tanks to Kyiv, the delivery will take until the beginning of next year.”
According to Papperger, the armaments group still has 22 vehicles from the Leopard 2 and 88 vehicles from the Leopard 1. “But we cannot repair these tanks without an order, as the costs are several hundred million euros. Rheinmetall cannot pre-finance that,” said the company boss.
The repair of the decommissioned main battle tanks lasted “almost a year”. Papperger: “The vehicles are not only repainted, but have to be converted for a war effort. They are completely taken apart and then rebuilt again.”
According to Pappberger, the Leopard could play a decisive role in the Ukraine war: “The Leopard main battle tank is extremely important for offensives and the reclaiming of territories. With battle tanks, an army can break through enemy lines and end a prolonged trench warfare.
With the Leopard, the soldiers can advance umpteen kilometers at a time.” Rheinmetall is ready for the planned delivery of 40 Marder armored personnel carriers to the Ukraine. However, the prerequisite would be that Greece would forego the second tranche of its delivery from the ring exchange for the time being. Papperger: “Of course we could give the remaining 20 martens planned for Greece to the Ukraine in a timely manner. Other vehicles would follow in April because we are working under high pressure.” According to Papperger, Rheinmetall also has another 100 Marders, but they are in poor condition, so repairing them takes seven to eight months.
Rheinmetall has started manufacturing cheetah ammunition for Ukraine. “We will have finished producing the first lot of ammunition in June/July. By the middle of next year we will have delivered 300,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine. That’s a lot, so we hope that Ukraine’s ammunition problem for the cheetah will be solved,” said the arms manager to “Bild am Sonntag”.