Rheinmetall ready to produce new infantry fighting vehicles in Slovakia
Rheinmetall AG of Duesseldorf, Germany, released details today of its plans for a new factory in Eastern Slovakia and a massive investment into the Slovak economy. The company is hoping to supply 152 KF41 Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicles as part of the Slovak Armed Forces’ re-equipment programme.
Rheinmetall also revealed names and roles among its nationwide network of Slovak industrial partners, all of whom, like the new factory in Eastern Slovakia, are scheduled to take part in delivering the Slovak Army’s IFV requirements as well as being integrated into the Rheinmetall Global Supply Chain for the Lynx and other military products manufactured for export.
The Slovak Ministry of Defence has budgeted €1.7 billion for the replacement of Slovakia’s ageing fleet of Soviet-era BVP-2s. Rheinmetall will re-invest more than half of this sum into the Slovak economy, with the new factory taking responsibility for delivering 80 per cent of the Slovak Armed Forces’ IFV fleet.
New manufacturing plant at Moldava nad Bodvou
The centrepiece of Rheinmetall’s announcement is a new factory at Moldava nad Bodvou, a town of 12,000 inhabitants in Eastern Slovakia.
The facility comprises 12,000 square metres of production lines plus a 15,000 square metre test area. The whole project represents an investment by Rheinmetall of €30 million.
The factory initiative has been warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Moldava nad Bodvou, Mr Slavomir Borovsky: „Moldava nad Bodvou sees this is project as a great opportunity to bring further prosperity and economic growth to the town and to contribute to the security of the Slovak Republic. We are interested in supporting Rheinmetall and providing assistance in the construction of their new plant.”
The new factory will become Rheinmetall’s principal centre in the Slovak Republic, responsible for the delivery of 80 per cent of the Ministry of Defence’s new IFVs. It will be the focus of Rheinmetall’s widespread network of Slovak industrial partners, which covers the whole country.
Significant local employment potential
Rheinmetall plans to recruit 150 local people and train them in 2023 and 2024 ready for production to begin in 2025. The jobs are mainly skilled roles in mechanical and electrical engineering.
The Moldava plant will manufacture chassis and turrets for the Lynx IFV as well as handling systems integration, testing and paintwork. It will also be equipped to provide maintenance for the Slovak Armed Forces’ IFV fleet, and is designed to be adaptable to accommodate further requirements from the Slovak army as well as export orders from abroad.
‘This is only the beginning’, said Mr Oliver Mittelsdorf, Executive Vice President Sales Tactical Vehicles. ‘The Lynx is proving a winner in world defence markets and the Moldava factory will provide many more opportunities for future job creation as orders for the Lynx and other products stream in’.
Nationwide network of Slovak industrial partners
Rheinmetall has its eyes on the future and has already established deep-rooted and long-term partnerships with Slovak companies in the defence systems engineering sector. The company has currently identified over 70 potential Slovak industrial partners.
A number of prominent organisations have already been integrated into the Rheinmetall supply chain. Among them are:
CSM Industry at Tisovec, who supplies Rheinmetall with engines, transmissions, cables, roof modules and other specialized components; EVPU at Nova Dubnica, who provide laser warning systems; Ray Service at Zilina, contributing specialized cable systems and electronic assemblies; Kinex at Velka Bytca; VRM at Trencin for Simulations; Aliter Technologies in Bratislava for communication systems; MSM Land Systems at Trencin;; and DMD Group in Dubnica nad Vahom, who are scheduled to become a Joint Venture partner with Rheinmetall in the new Moldava factory.
The joint venture of Rheinmetall with DMD Group and the integration of major partners of the Slovak Defence industry will ensure maximum economic benefit and reduced risk for the Slovak Republic.
Rheinmetall’s industrial integration track-record
Rheinmetall has a proud history of making investments and forging alliances with industrial partners in Central Europe. This began twenty years ago at Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, where Rheinmetall is now a major employer and has encouraged the growth of a highly-skilled local workforce. More recently Rheinmetall announced the building of a brand-new factory at Zalaegerszeg in Hungary.
Mr Paul Walf, Head of Corporate Coordination Central Europe for Rheinmetall Group, explains: ‘We have a concrete plan for the creation of a powerful Central European defence industry network, he said. ‘We have been gradually piecing together the components and partners, and it’s working: we are winning orders on world markets which bring direct economic benefits to our employees and partners here at home’.
Walf stresses the strategic nature of this programme: ‘It’s large-scale and long-term’, he says. ‘This combination of Rheinmetall ownership and industrial partnerships is forming a central European complex of interlocking specialists which is already proving capable of challenging the established majors in world defence markets’.