Unusual move: KMW explores Leopard tank production in Greece

ATHENS ($1=1.02 Euros) — German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann [KMW] is exploring the Balkans as a destination for new production facilities for its Leopard tank. It is about Greece and negotiations that are currently taking place between KMW and the Greek company Metko.

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The news was reported by the German publication Die Welt. There is no clear definition of what exactly KMW will be doing in Greece, but exploratory actions are claimed to determine whether they will manufacture or upgrade Leopard tanks. However, KMW provides clarity on the tank models subject to possible production – Leopard 1A5 and Leopard 2. The possibility of producing steel hulls for the tanks is under discussion, the Munich-based company also said in its statement.

The main reason for this unusual move is the war in Ukraine. KMW sees a problem with the trade-in program. I.e. donated heavily armored fighting vehicles to receive some equivalent in the donor country from the larger Western military industries, which is Germany in this case.

The news comes at a time when Greece is preparing for a large-scale modernization of its tanks. It is about 190 Leopard type 1 tanks, and 183 Leopard type 2 tanks. However, the authorities in Greece are refraining from further details because the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to visit Athens at the end of October, on the 27th. Political analysts believe that it is during Scholz’s visit to Greece that there will be more clarity about KMW’s intentions.

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Then Greece will most likely confirm its intentions to spend 4 billion euros on defense. This money includes the modernization of the already mentioned German tanks, as well as the modernization of four MEKO-type frigates and the purchase of 205 new Lynx KF-41 armored fighting vehicles. What’s more, a plant is supposed to be unveiled in northern Greece to begin production of the Lynx KF-41 for the Greek Army.

However, the eventual plant in northern Greece has nothing to do with KMW’s decision to look for an option to manufacture its tanks in the Balkans. However, both the German media and KMW say that the German company is not looking to open new production facilities, nor to relocate production units.

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