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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 12:43 IST

Rheinmetall secures major contract with Spain amid European munitions crisis due to Ukraine war

Spain responds to Europe's ammunition production needs, awarding Rheinmetall Expal Munitions a $4.67 million contract for 120mm munitions and grenades.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Edited by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Rheinmetall's Ammo
Representational | Image:AP
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Düsseldorf: In response to the pressing need for European nations to bolster ammunition production, Spain has taken a decisive step by awarding a lucrative contract to local defense contractor Rheinmetall Expal Munitions. The multimillion-dollar deal, valued at approximately $4.67 million, includes the procurement of 120mm munitions, illuminating grenades, smoke grenades, and other explosive materials. 

For months, defense officials across Europe have urged European Union members to rally their arms industries in increasing munitions production to address the ongoing supply chain crisis. Spain's move to award Rheinmetall Expal Munitions this significant contract aligns with the broader effort to strengthen European capabilities in the face of geopolitical challenges. 

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Rheinmetall's acquisition and Spain's strategic investments 

The German company Rheinmetall's acquisition of the Spanish firm, formerly known as Expal Systems, in a deal worth $1.3 billion in August, has paved the way for strategic collaborations and expanded capacities. Rheinmetall Expal Munitions, now under the Rheinmetall umbrella, continues its operations in Spain and has plans for further expansion. 

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This month, the Spanish Defence Ministry has taken a step further by issuing tenders for the purchase of 155mm artillery ammunition and modular extended-range artillery loads. The allocated budget for these tenders reaches up to $531 million, signifying a significant commitment to enhancing Spain's defense capabilities. However, it remains unclear if all the artillery shells are intended for the Army. 

Rheinmetall's order for 155mm ammunition bound for Ukraine 

Rheinmetall announced in December a substantial order for 155mm ammunition valued at €142 million (U.S. $155 million). While the customer remains unidentified, the order is attributed to "a NATO partner nation" with a declared intention to support Ukraine in its defensive struggle. The ammunition, intended for Ukraine, is set to be produced at Rheinmetall Expal Munitions' facilities in Spain, with delivery scheduled for 2025.

These developments align with the European Union's efforts to expedite support for Ukraine's ammunition needs following Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022. The European Commission-led initiative, Act in Support of Ammunition Production, aims to ramp up the bloc's production capacity to meet the urgent demands arising from the conflict. 

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Ukrainian drone attack on Russian airbase 

Meanwhile, tensions continue to escalate in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, with reports of a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian airbase leading to a state of emergency in the city of Voronezh in southern Russia. The Voronezh-Baltimor airbase, approximately 100 miles from the Ukrainian border, hosts Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers critical for Russian military operations in Ukraine.

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Russian authorities reported the destruction of five drones over the Voronezh region and another four in the nearby Belgorod region. The strategic significance of the Voronezh airbase and the reported increase in Ukraine's recruitment efforts underscore the fluid and complex dynamics of the ongoing conflict, with both nations grappling with manpower challenges amid the intense military engagement.  

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 12:43 IST

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