German arms giant Rheinmetall is planning a massive munitions boost as the war in Ukraine rages on

German arms maker Rheinmetall is poised to sharply ramp up production of tank and artillery ammunition to meet strong demand in Ukraine and the West – and could start producing Himars multiple rocket launchers in Germany, according to CEO Armin Papperger.

We spoke to new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius days before the first meeting of German defense industry heads.

At the meeting, Mr. Pistorius wants to initiate talks on how to speed up arms procurement and how to increase ammunition supplies in the long term after almost a year of arms donations to Ukraine depleting German stocks.

Rheinmetall makes a range of defense products but is probably best known for making the Leopard 2 tank’s 120mm gun.

“We can produce 240,000 rounds of tank ammunition (120mm) a year, which is more than the whole world needs,” Mr Papperger said in an interview with Reuters.

The capacity to produce 155mm artillery shells could be increased to 450,000-500,000 per year, he added, making Rheinmetall the largest producer of both types of ammunition.

In 2022, Rheinmetall has produced about 60,000 to 70,000 rounds each of tank and artillery shells, according to Papperger, who said production could be ramped up immediately.

Demand for these munitions has risen sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, not only due to their massive use on the battlefield, but also as Western militaries replenish their own stocks and anticipate what they see as an increased threat from Moscow to prepare.

Rheinmetall is also eyeing a new powder plant, possibly in the eastern German state of Saxony, but the €700-800 million investment will have to be borne by the state in Berlin, he said.

“The state has to invest, and we contribute our technological know-how. In return, the state gets a share of the investment and the profits made,” suggested Papperger.

He has also pushed for an increase in the defense budget.

“The 51 billion euros in the defense budget will not be enough to buy everything that is needed. And the money in the 100 billion euro special fund is already earmarked – and partly consumed by inflation,” he said. “That sounds like a huge sum, but actually we would need 300 billion euros to order everything we need.” German arms giant Rheinmetall is planning a massive munitions boost as the war in Ukraine rages on

Fry Electronics Team

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