Rheinmetall is preparing more “Leopard” tanks for the Ukraine

Rheinmetall is preparing more

The armaments group Rheinmetall is planning to export more Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. To this end, the company has acquired around 50 older Leopard 1 tanks from the Belgian company OIP Land Systems, a company spokesman confirmed today. The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported on the business.

Conversion planned at German locations

OIP Land Systems managing director Freddy Versluys told British newspaper The Guardian that he had sold 49 tanks to another European country. He did not give details. Versluys added that it could take up to six months for them to be on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Some of the Belgian “Leopard 1” tanks are in such a bad condition that only certain components can be used from some vehicles. The number of tanks that can be delivered falls to around 30. At the German locations of the Düsseldorf Rheinmetall Group, they are to be converted for use in the Ukraine.

No deal with Swiss arms company

According to the “Handelsblatt”, Rheinmetall actually wanted to buy the “Leopard 1” tanks from the Swiss armaments company Ruag in order to then make them available to Ukraine. However, since Switzerland did not issue any export permits due to its neutrality laws, Rheinmetall looked for other delivery options.

The “Leopard 1” is the predecessor of the “Leopard 2” tank currently used by the Bundeswehr. Several dozen examples of this model have already been exported from NATO stocks to the Ukraine. The country relies on arms supplies from the West to ward off Russian attacks on its territory.

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