Rheinmetall is shouldering the costs of a new German munitions factory

Germany’s leading arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has taken another step to increase its capacity to produce ammunition in Europe.

Rheinmetall announced on February 12, 2024 that a new plant will be established in Unterlüß in Lower Saxony, which will ensure “Germany’s self-sufficiency in ammunition production,” the company claimed, adding: “Previous reliance on export licenses issued by other countries will thus be eliminated, giving Germany complete sovereignty in this area related to national security.”

A bold undertaking at a time of ammunition shortages in Europe, especially if the figures on Ukraine’s consumption rate are anything to go by.

Rheinmetall’s new plant will produce artillery ammunition, explosives and rocket artillery components.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen joined Rheinmetall’s Chairman of the Executive Board Armin Papperger for the official opening ceremony of ‘Werk Niedersachsen’, the group’s new munitions factory.

Lands on which the future munitions factory will be built. Credit: Rheinmetall.

Wirk Niedersachsen

Wirk Niedersachsen is expected to eventually manufacture 20,000 artillery shells per year, along with up to 1,900 RDX explosive containers and, optionally, other components for munitions production.

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In addition, production can be extended to rocket engines and warheads. This will be necessary for the planned German rocket artillery project – which is enshrined in the memorandum of understanding between Rheinmetall and the US defense premier Lockheed Martin signed in April 2023.

In addition, this company-funded project represents an investment volume in the range of €300 million ($323.25 million).

“Rheinmetall therefore bears the entire cost of building the plant, without government involvement,” the company said in a statement. “The move reflects our sense of responsibility and determination to make a meaningful contribution to the ability of our country and our NATO partners to defend themselves.”

Germany is positioned at the heart of the European ammunition supply chain

Ultimately, Rheinmetall hopes to create “a complete value-added chain for artillery ammunition at Unterlüß,” allowing it to offer the “complete shot” from a single source, including the shell, fuse, explosive charge and propellant charge.

However, in the German industry, Rheinmetall is not alone in its ambitions to make Germany the center of Europe for munitions supply. Pan-European missile defense supplier MBDA has also made a significant mark in strengthening the Bunderwehr.

Germany’s MBDA subsidiary and missile manufacturer Bayern-Chemie has returned to Raytheon’s industrial supplier base for the Patriot missile defense system in 2023.

Now, the provider is ramping up production once again for the next-generation PAC-2 variant: the Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile (GEM-T) interceptors.

As of July 2023, NATO has agreed $10 billion worth of industrial deals on munitions: “including $5.5 billion for 1,000 more Patriot air defense missiles just last month. An agreement that will create more production capacity in Europe for this vital skill,” said Mr Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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