Makers of Leopard 2 tank embroiled in legal battle over rights

Two of Germany’s greatest defence contractors are embroiled in a authorized battle over rights to the Leopard 2 — the battle tank that Berlin has accredited to ship to Ukraine after months of worldwide stress.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, a Munich-based firm that first developed the Leopard 2 within the Seventies and builds its chassis, has filed an injunction towards Rheinmetall, which produces the tank’s cannon, over claims made by its chief govt.

Armin Papperger, who has headed Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall for a decade, final month advised Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung that the corporate managed rights to a number of the older Leopard 2 fashions and had roughly 1,000 such autos in inventory.

In accordance with an announcement by a district court docket in Munich, KMW has disputed this as “unfaithful, deceptive and infringing on their rights”, and requested the court docket to restrain Rheinmetall from making such claims sooner or later.

Rheinmetall and KMW each declined to remark. A listening to will happen on Could 2.

The Leopard 2 is just not the one infantry-fighting automobile that depends on collaboration between the 2 firms. Rheinmetall mentioned final week {that a} three way partnership with KMW had been tasked by the German navy with retrofitting 143 Puma tanks at a price of €770mn.

The 2 firms have benefited from booming demand for arms ensuing from the struggle in Ukraine, which prompted German chancellor Olaf Scholz to reverse a long time of pacifist coverage and promise to ramp up the navy of Europe’s largest economic system.

Rheinmetall’s share worth is up practically 40 per cent for the reason that begin of the 12 months and the corporate final month entered Germany’s Dax index, which tracks the nation’s 40 largest firms.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Papperger has appeared regularly within the press, the place he has change into a robust advocate for the European defence business. A few of his statements, equivalent to a name to construct a tank manufacturing unit in Ukraine, have been privately questioned by others within the business.

Privately owned KMW has taken a a lot quieter strategy, staying within the shadows of its rival on the subject of discussions of German defence capabilities.

Extra reporting by Alexander Vladkov

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