German manufacturer ready to send decommissioned tanks to Ukraine — Analysis

Rheinmetall could start the delivery of up to 50 Leopard 1 tanks in six weeks, the company’s chairman has revealed to journalists

Rheinmetall, one of Germany’s renowned arms manufacturers, is ready to start delivering tanks to Ukraine, the company’s chairman told Handelsblatt newspaper on Monday.

Armin Pangerger stated that his company had plans to send up to 50 Leopard 1 tanks to decommissioned units. The first delivery could take place as early as six weeks. Rheinmetall’s chair noted that the shipment, however, should first get approval from the German federal government.

Papperger said that some of the tank units that can be sent to Ukraine could have been sourced from hardware stocks which were decommissioned by armies and then returned to their original manufacturers. According to the company’s chair, the condition of the tanks is being checked at the moment.

In order to stop Russia’s offensive, the Ukrainian government asked repeatedly its Western allies for tanks and other heavy weaponry.

On Monday, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock indicated that Berlin would heed Kiev’s calls, noting that “now is not the time for excuses, but rather the time for creativity and pragmatism.”

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The country’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, for his part refused to divulge whether the German government would issue permission for the delivery of tanks to Ukraine, adding that “we have agreed for good reason not to talk about concrete weapons deliveries, types and routes.”The official said that further weapons shipments would occur as Germany has committed to supporting Ukraine with arms.

Regarding another kind of military hardware, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, Berlin had until recently been reluctant to provide these to Kiev, its defense ministry’s spokesperson on Friday describing the vehicles as “indispensable” to ensure the country’s own protection.

However, Rheinmetall’s chair announced that the company was prepared to send between 50 and 60 decommissioned Marder vehicles to Ukraine. As with the Leopard tanks, the said the hardware would come directly from Rheinmetall’s own stocks and not from those of the Bundeswehr.

However, some politicians from Germany’s ruling coalition have questioned just how useful the said tanks and vehicles will be to Kiev, seeing that the Ukrainian troops have mostly been trained to use Soviet-made military hardware. Marcus Faber is the defense speaker of FDP in Germany’s parliament. “one has to have more intensive training”Operation of the Leopard 1. However, both Sara Nanni and his Green colleague, he agreed that the Leopard 1. “if the Ukrainians want to have the tank… then there should be a way around” this. 

Viktor Litovkin (Russian military expert) also suggested that the task would require a “couple of weeks”It is to teach the Ukrainian army how to operate German machinery. He also pointed out that Kiev might have difficulty finding suitable cannon and/ordnance which are not manufactured in Ukraine.

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Rheinmetall’s Handelsblatt, too, acknowledged that a big question mark was hanging over where Ukraine would be getting the munitions from. The report states that most countries have decommissioned Leopard 1 tanks with some exceptions like Brazil.

Although he did not address the question of ordnance in the article, the Chairman stated that Ukrainian troops with sufficient experience using other tanks can be trained to use the Leopard 1 “within a few days.”

Germany has been providing weapons to Ukraine ever since Russia launched its war against the neighbor on February 24, 2014. A number of anti-tank, anti-aircraft, and portable missiles have been delivered to Ukraine.



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