CEO Armin Papperger reveals details about future Rheinmetall plant in Ukraine

Ukrainian website reports that the CEO of Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, revealed some details of the Ukrainins’ opinion about the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, the production of ammunition and the construction of a tank plant in Ukraine.
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Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, standing in front of a KF51 Panther and a Boxer (Picture source: via

Armin Papperger said what follows in an interview with RND: "A significant part of our growth is connected with the terrible war in Ukraine. No country in Europe is well prepared for an invasion. Governments have understood this, so the demand for our products is growing", said Armin Papperger. "However, in the short term, Ukraine will receive a million artillery ammunitions only if the European armies provide their stocks. On the industrial side, we are working on increasing production capacity. We hire staff, restore obsolete machines, and build new supply chains. However, it will take six to ten years to fill all European ammunition depots".

When asked how Rheinmetall's production equipment performed, Papperger replied that the company receives positive feedback about its products. He gave an example of the quality of the barrels of the PzH 2000 self-propelled guns, which are designed for 4,000 rounds, but the Ukrainian military demonstrated that the barrel can withstand 20,000 rounds without significant damage.

Papperger was asked about the expediency and realism of building a Rheinmetall plant with the subsequent launch of serial production of Panther KF51 tanks in Ukraine. He replied that it is quite realistic and that it will take 15-20 months to bring the project to start on the territory of Germany. “If you want to bring a new product to the market, you have to start somewhere. We are currently working on preparing the Panther for mass production and expect it to be ready for takeoff in 15-20 months. "Problems with teething are normal and can be quickly eliminated," said the general director.

Papperger was questioned about the qualifications of the Ukrainian workers who should set up the production of high-tech equipment. He answered that, most likely, the company will train personnel locally and in Germany. "We would mainly improve the qualifications of local workers, and sometimes, we would bring them to study in Germany. We always do that. Take our factory in Hungary: out of 300 employees there, exactly 2 are Germans".

He added that there are many defense factories in Ukraine that keep working in spite of the war. The Ukrainian authorities will find a way to protect the enterprise from Russian attacks.

During the interview, Papperger said that the company is experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel and the need for them is constantly growing due to the increase in the production capacity of the concern. "Of course, we also experience a shortage of skilled workers, but we benefit from the fact that our image has changed. Many people want to defend their country, but not everyone is like a soldier".

Defense News June 2023