An extensive report in the Welt newspaper refers to plans for the Leopard tanks to be co-produced between German arms giant Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann and a Greek company.
According to the report, “against the background of the war in Ukraine and a complex campaign of circular exchange of weapons systems, a major project is now in the works. It is about the possibility of additional co-production or modernisation of hundreds of older Leopard tanks in Greece.”
“In response to WELT’s question, KMW essentially confirmed the talks with METKA, but did not provide further details,” the report added.
A terse statement from the Munich-based armaments group said only that “discussions concern the Leopard 1A5 and Leopard 2 while plans to produce the tanks steel hull are under discussion.”
“However, there are no plans to create new Leopard production units or even to relocate production units from Germany to Greece,” the statement said.
However, the extensive report also refers to the upcoming visit of Chancellor Olaf Soltz to Greece on October 27, according to Greek media, which within the overall framework of the exchange of weapons systems with the aim of supporting Ukraine acquires a high symbolic value.
In fact, “it is said that the first German armored personnel carrier of the Marder type from the reserves of the Rheinmetall arms group could even be present at the military parade in Thessaloniki for the national anniversary of October 28”.
Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht agreed in September on the transfer of 40 BMP-1 armored combat vehicles from Greece to Ukraine, which will be replaced by 40 Marder armored combat vehicles to be transferred from Germany to Greece.
The agreement was a follow-up to the decision by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Chancellor Olaf Scholz last May to support Ukraine’s defence against Russia.
However, at another point he also mentions that in addition to the KMW group, Rheinmetall also seems to be interested in Greece.
“The Dusseldorf-based arms group hopes Greece will order the new Lynx infantry fighting vehicle next year – as will Hungary, also a NATO partner.”