On 14 December 2022, Rheinmetall announced that they had provided Slovenia with 40 new-build military swap body trucks under the ‘Ringtausch’ programme at the behest of the German government. Rheinmetall did not provide the exact value of the contract, only stating that the contract value was in the lower two-digit million-euro range.
The company stated that in terms of configuration, these swap body trucks are unprotected, and are comparable to the logistics vehicles developed by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles on behalf of the Bundeswehr. In addition to the vehicles, the package for Slovenia included variable loader platforms, five palletized water tank modules, as well as a training and initial service package.
The German government’s ‘Ringtausch’ programme aims to provide replacement Western hardware for countries which are donating their legacy Soviet equipment to Ukraine. The ‘Ringtausch’ programme was agreed in cooperation with Germany’s NATO allies and is intended to incentivise users of Soviet equipment to donate it to Ukraine for use in their ongoing struggle against Russia. In exchange for the new trucks, the Slovenian armed forces provided military aid to Ukraine several weeks ago.
Rheinmetall stated that the equipment exchange has been completed fairly quickly, with German defence minister Christine Lambrecht and her Slovenian counterpart, Marjan Šarec making a statement of intent to this effect on 21 September 2022. This was followed by an order being placed with Rheinmetall on 5 December 2022, and delivery by 14 December.
Transfer of the vehicles took place at Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH’s local partner, MAN Truck & Bus Slovenija d.o.o. Immediately afterwards, Slovenia’s minister of defence, Marjan Šarec, took delivery of the trucks on behalf of the Slovenian Army. Rheinmetall stated that delivery is largely complete, though individual components and training modules would continue to be provided over the next two years.
Under the ‘Ringtausch’ programme, Rheinmetall has already started the process of equipment exchanges with the armed forces of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece, with traded equipment including main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.