As the company announced, the total value of the order is in the low three-digit million euro range.

    The Hungarian state is building a new explosives plant for the production of so-called RDX (Research Department eXplosive) at the Rheinmetall site in Varpalota. The system technology is to be supplied by Rheinmetall Denel Munition Pty (Ltd) from South Africa. According to the agreement, a new plant will be equipped, which will in future be operated by a joint venture between Rheinmetall and the Hungarian N7 Holding.

    The project will start in 2023 after the planning phase has already taken place, so that production can be started by 2027. The explosives produced in the new plant can be used for artillery, tank and mortar ammunition, among other things.

    Damage balance to the Puma: Defects were small, but still dangerous

    According to the Ministry of Defence, during the repair of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, which failed during a shooting exercise, mostly minor and medium-sized damage was found. In a few cases, they were more serious, the ministry informed the representatives in the Bundestag on Wednesday in a classified information. The ministry “continued to rate the IFV Puma as a technologically high-quality weapon system,” it said.

    After 18 of 18 of the armored personnel carriers deployed failed during a shooting exercise, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) pulled the emergency brake and had the Puma removed from a German NATO obligation in the VJTF rapid reaction force. The German soldiers reported ready for action are now equipped with the older Marder infantry fighting vehicle. She also put an additional purchase of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle on hold.

    Fundamental doubts about the system are now not formulated. The infantry fighting vehicle has “undoubtedly very promising performance data and the ability to provide the troops with superior effectiveness in combat,” according to the officer’s briefing. And: “For a war-ready system, this superior effectiveness must go hand in hand with robustness and reliability in use and operation,” is the demand. The experience available so far has shown that the highly complex weapon system in its current state of construction can only be operated with a closely interlinked technical and logistical concept involving the troops, army repair logistics, project management and industry – i.e. with better cooperation. A top-level discussion with the industry on the further use of the Puma is announced.

    17 of the 18 Pumas have now been repaired. The armored personnel carrier was only declared combat-ready in 2021 and is being built jointly by the armaments companies Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). Doubts were expressed early on by the industry that significant technical problems could occur so frequently. Almost all of the damage was “trivial,” said a spokesman for the manufacturer Rheinmetall on Monday.

    In the ultra-modern technology of the tank, computer errors can sometimes be corrected with a readout device. However, this can pose a great risk. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday: “Even supposedly simple failures can lead to death in combat. That is why it must be carefully investigated. And we are doing it.”

    In the briefing, it was explained that the failure of individual high-quality parts and fire damage would have to be examined further from a technical point of view. Restoring the armored personnel carriers’ full operational readiness also requires some additional work, “which is currently being worked on at full speed.”

    A critical reaction came from the coalition group of the Greens. “The Ministry of Defense is apparently still groping in the dark about the breakdown Pumas. It remains unclear who is responsible for the damage to the weapon systems,” said budget politician Sebastian Schäfer. “The minister must finally conduct real investigations in order to limit the damage to the reputation of Germany’s NATO contribution.”

    Meanwhile, the Minister of Defense, who had been heavily criticized again after her New Year’s Eve video, received public support from Chancellor Olaf Scholz. When asked on Wednesday whether the Defense Minister continued to enjoy the Chancellor’s unconditional trust, Deputy Government Spokesman Wolfgang Büchner said: “Yes, of course.” He reiterated: “The Chancellor works well and trustingly with all of his cabinet colleagues. And of course that also applies to the minister I spoke to.”

    Lambrecht once again attracted great criticism with her video that was distributed on Instagram at the weekend. In it, she takes stock of the year 2022, which was shaped by the war in Ukraine, but her words are repeatedly lost in the whistling of New Year’s Eve rockets and exploding firecrackers. There are demands for his resignation from the Union. It is awaited with interest whether and how the SPD will position itself with the minister at the annual meeting of its parliamentary group in the coming week.

    Rheinmetall shares temporarily lost 0.20 percent to EUR 200.10 via XETRA.

    FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Dow Jones/dpa-AFX)

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