German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall plans to build the first armored vehicles on-site in Ukraine from the summer of 2024, CEO Armin Papperger said in an interview with German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche on Dec. 2.
The first Fuchs armored personnel carriers could be produced in Ukraine by late summer 2024, about six to seven months after signing the relevant contract, Papperger said.
The first Lynx armored fighting vehicles could be built in Ukraine by 2025, or "12 to 13 months" after signing the contract, according to the CEO.
The first 10 Lynx vehicles are currently being manufactured in German and Hungarian plants, but "after a ramp-up phase, we should then quickly be in a position to produce a significant number of these vehicles entirely in Ukraine."
Papperger told WirtschaftsWoche that he is not concerned about the security of factories in Ukraine, as Rheinmetall will be "renting existing plants, converting them and then operating them," and "they seem to be quite well protected."
Armored vehicles produced abroad are already being repaired and maintained in Ukraine, Paperger said, since "skilled workers from Ukraine have been trained in Germany for this purpose."
Papperger first announced plans for Rheinmetall to produce Fuchs armored personnel carriers in Ukraine in May 2023.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on Oct. 24 that Rheinmetall will join forces with Ukraine's state-owned defense company Ukroboronprom to repair and maintain Western-produced military vehicles and ultimately produce them domestically in Ukraine.
The joint Rheinmetall-Ukrainian Defense Industry was registered on Oct. 18, Shmyhal said.
"The creation of a joint enterprise is, without exaggeration, a landmark event that takes cooperation between our countries to a qualitatively new level."
The German government, the second-biggest provider of military aid to Ukraine worldwide, finances the deliveries.