German defense manufacturer Rheinmetall is preparing to deliver a batch of 50 used Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, the company’s CEO Armin Papperger told Handelsblatt.
Papperger said that the first armored vehicle could be supplied in six weeks and the rest in three months if approved by the federal government. He added that the Ukrainian soldiers could be trained to use the vehicle in a few days.
According to the outlet, cabinet ministers and coalition partners are open to the possible tank delivery fearing a fresh Russian attack from the east.
“You have to be trained a bit more intensively on the Leopard 1. But if the Ukrainians want the tank, a way should be found,” Marcus Faber, defense policy spokesperson for the Free Democrats’ parliamentary group, told Handelsblatt.
Infantry Fighting Vehicles By Year-End
Rheinmetall has also reportedly offered to deliver 35 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine by the end of 2022. The German military’s Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) has been using the vehicle as its primary weapon since the 1970s.
German outlet Bild reported that the company initially made an offer to the German government to ship the vehicles to Ukraine from existing military stocks immediately. The proposal was rejected despite the arms manufacturer’s offer to compensate for the loss with new units.
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Saturday that the country’s military reserves have run out of arms for Ukraine, and hence the government is consulting with private players to explore ways to supply arms to the besieged country directly.