Rheinmetall’s Lynx OMFV design for the US Army (Rheinmetall artwork)

BELFAST — Germany’s Rheinmetall wants to enable production of the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle inside Ukraine “in the near future,” according to Armin Papperger, the company’s CEO.

The timeframe was revealed today as the manufacturer and Ukrainian industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, and builds on the Rheinmetall Ukrainian Defense Industry joint venture — created with the Ukrainian Defense Industry, formerly Ukroboronprom — established in October 2023 to meet Kyiv’s long-term equipment needs. The industry collaboration was developed with the aim of opening in-country manufacturing facilities of Lynx and other land systems, such as Rheinmetall’s Panther main battle tanks and Fuchs armored transport vehicles.

In a company statement, Rheinmetall said the new MoU “aims to identify and develop further areas for closer cooperation between” itself and the Ukrainian defense industry.

“We […] want to hand over the first Lynx infantry fighting vehicles to the country this year and start manufacturing these systems in Ukraine in the near future,” Papperger is quoted as saying.

Rheinmetall also noted that a separate framework agreement, still to be signed, for supply of “several hundred” Lynx vehicles to Kyiv will also cover “training, maintenance and repair services.”

Additionally, Rheinmetall is in talks with Ukrainian suppliers in a bid to form a new joint venture for in country production of artillery ammunition.

“In February 2024 the two partners had already declared their intention to manufacture a six-digit number of 155mm rounds, including the corresponding propelling charges, per year” linked to a Ukraine ammunition center of excellence, with Rheinmetall due to hold a majority stake of 51 percent, said the Rheinmetall statement.

In a similar move last week, French manufacturer KNDS and Ukrainian firm KZVV signed a contract for production in Ukraine of 155mm artillery shells.

Welcoming the latest collaboration with Rheinmetall, Oleksandr Kamyshin, minister of strategic industries of Ukraine said, “Let’s build the arsenal of the free world together.”

Since the start of the Ukraine war, Germany has supplied Ukraine with a wide variety of land vehicles, ranging from Leopard main battle tanks, Marder IFVs, to DINGO Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and M113 armored personnel carriers.

The announcement comes a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed German lawmakers for the first time in Berlin, thanking the nation for its support. During his trip he met with top German officials and toured the 21 Surface-to-Air Missile Group, where Ukrainian forces are training on American-made Patriot air defense systems.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and I visited the 21 Surface-to-Air Missile Group in Sanitz.

Ukrainian defenders are being trained to operate Patriot air defense systems here.

We saw the Patriot battery that will be transferred to Ukraine and met with Ukrainian warriors… pic.twitter.com/lMVdAW0v2i

— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 11, 2024

I am grateful to our partners, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, Germany, and all German people for their steadfast defense support for Ukraine, including our defenders’ training,” the Ukrainian leader said on X. “I thank our warriors for their service. We believe in you. And we are doing our utmost to strengthen our defense.”