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Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG expects to be awarded a contract for the modernisation of the British Army’s CHALLENGER II MBTs. Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger explained today at the company’s annual press conference that the British Ministry of Defence is expected to announce that the German defence company has been commissioned to digitise the MBT’s turret and integrate a smoothbore gun. He put the likely value of the project at €750M as a first step. In addition, a second contract for ammunition deliveries will probably be concluded this year, Papperger said. This is a deal between the British and German governments.

CHALLENGER 2 LEP demonstrator fitted with a new turret armed with a Rheinmetall 120 mm L55A2 smoothbore gun, showing new gunner’s sight and new commander’s panoramic sight, built at the end of 2018 (Photo: RBSL)

Chasing LYNX IFV Contracts

According to the Rheinmetall boss, the super-cycle in the defence sector will continue in the coming years. He sees great interest in the LYNX IFV which the company has developed in-house. After signing a contract last autumn in Hungary for the production of more than 200 examples, he says talks are underway in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and more recently, Italy. Papperger put the long-term business potential for the Lynx at €15 to 40Bn – although a contract in the USA would be needed to reach the latter figure. He also expects a decision before the end of the year in Australia, where the LYNX is competing in the LAND 400 programme.

Should the company win the contract in the USA to supply an IFV to replace the US Army’s BRADLEY fleet, the vehicles would be manufactured entirely in the USA with local partners. According to its own information, Rheinmetall has already established a US company that allowed to participate in classified programmes.

Overall, the Düsseldorf-based group closed the 2020 financial year with the third-best operating result in the company’s recent history, namely €426M. According to Papperger, Rheinmetall won many important contracts and increased its order backlog to a record value of over €13Bn. In addition, there are framework contracts for military trucks and ammunition in the order of more than €3.5Bn.

Lars Hoffmann