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Rheinmetall CEO tells of German equipment’s performance in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military has provided positive reviews of the German weaponry supplied to the country. Soldiers fire up to 20,000 shots with PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers, although it is recommended that the barrel be replaced after 4,500 shots.
That’s according to Armin Papperger, head of the German defense concern Rheinmetall, who spoke in an interview with RND, Ukrinform reports.
"Ukrainians' reviews of German weapons are very positive. Take, for example, the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer, the chassis and weapons systems of which were supplied by Rheinmetall. In general, we say that the barrel needs to be replaced after about 4,500 shots. But the Ukrainians fire up to 20,000 shots, which is actually impossible. Other barrels would have long cracked," Papperger said, commenting on how German equipment performed on the battlefield in Ukraine.
According to the CEO, the Russian war against Ukraine played a major role in the current growth of Rheinmetall. "A large part of our growth is related to the terrible war in Ukraine. No country in Europe is well prepared in the event of an invasion by the aggressor. Governments have understood this, so the demand for our products is growing," he said.
Papperger noted that the concern expects to sign many contracts in 2023: "Now we are negotiating several very large contracts: tanks, ammunition, and soon air defense systems and aircraft. We are talking long-term and billions of euros."
Rheinmetall is also expanding its ammunition production capacity.
"We have the largest production capacity in the world for the production of tank munitions. There are no problems there. The situation is different with 155mm artillery rounds. Currently, we can produce 450,000 such rounds per year, but Ukraine alone needs up to a million. With the Spanish manufacturer Expal, which we plan to acquire this summer, we will expand our joint capacity to 600,000 rounds in the future," he said.
Commenting on the question of whether the EU's promise to provide Ukraine with a million artillery rounds within a year will be fulfilled, Papperger said that "in the short term, Ukraine will receive a million artillery rounds only if the European armies open their stocks."
"On the industrial side, we are working on increasing production capacity. We are hiring staff, restoring mothballed equipment, and building new supply chains. However, it will take six to 10 years to fill up all European ammunition depots," he said.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom concluded a strategic agreement with one of the world's defense industry leaders, Rheinmetall. Currently, the legal procedure for the creation of a joint enterprise is underway, where promising weapons and military equipment will be produced.
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