Germany recently commissioned Rheinmetall to supply additional infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a vital step in fortifying the latter’s defense capabilities.
In a significant move aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities, the German government has officially commissioned Rheinmetall, a renowned defense contractor, to supply an additional 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). This high-stakes contract, worth a substantial double-digit million-euro amount, was awarded to Rheinmetall last month.
This latest order builds upon Germany’s commitment to support Ukraine’s defense efforts after the initial batch of 20 Marder IFVs delivered earlier this year. Furthermore, in June, an additional 20 Rheinmetall IFVs were contracted, currently undergoing thorough overhauls in preparation for delivery.
Rheinmetall’s Remarkable Overhaul Efforts
The Marder IFVs made available to Ukraine are no ordinary vehicles; they are overhauled Marder 1A3 systems formerly utilized by the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr. As early as spring 2022, Rheinmetall embarked on an ambitious mission to restore these infantry fighting vehicles to a state of immediate combat readiness, entirely at their own expense.
This extensive refurbishment process is already in full swing at Rheinmetall’s state-of-the-art plants in Kassel and Unterlüß. Remarkably, the company’s capabilities allow them to deliver up to ten infantry fighting vehicles per month, ensuring the prompt fulfillment of the contract’s terms.
The Marder: A Reliable Weapon System
The Marder infantry fighting vehicle has a storied history within the Bundeswehr and continues to serve as one of the most reliable weapons systems of its kind globally. A stalwart of the German Army, the tracked vehicle boasts a rich development and operational history.
Ukrainian Army's German-supplied Marder infantry fighting vehicle in Zaporizhzhia Oblast at one of the sectors of the southern front
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) August 20, 2023
Introduced in the early 1970s, the Marder was designed as a versatile armored vehicle to transport infantry troops into battle while offering formidable firepower support. It has undergone multiple modernization and combat upgrades throughout its career, with the Marder 1A3 being one of the most well-known versions. Armed with a 20mm autocannon and anti-tank missiles, the Marder has proven its mettle in both conventional and urban warfare scenarios. Its robust design, coupled with continuous modernization efforts, has allowed it to maintain relevance within the German Army for decades.
Despite the emergence of more modern infantry fighting vehicles, the Marder’s legacy endures, serving as a testament to German engineering and solidifying its reputation as a formidable force on the battlefield.
Germany’s Ongoing Support for Ukraine
Berlin’s commitment to aiding Ukraine’s defense against external threats has been unwavering. In May, the German government announced military assistance worth a staggering 2.7 billion euros (approximately $2.9 billion) for Ukraine. This substantial aid package includes an array of sophisticated weaponry, further cementing Germany’s dedication to Ukraine’s security.
Among the assets provided are 38 Leopard tanks, 14 Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers, five MARS II multiple rocket launchers, and two Zuzana 2-wheeled self-propelled howitzers. These formidable military assets are designed to enhance Ukraine’s defensive capabilities and deter any potential aggressors.
The US: Leading the Way in Supporting Ukraine
While Germany’s recent commissioning of Rheinmetall to supply additional Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine is a testament to European solidarity, the United States continues to be the leading supporter of Ukraine since the onset of the Russian invasion earlier last year. Since President Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021, the US has been at the forefront of providing significant military assistance to Ukraine, totaling an outstanding $44.4 billion.
A substantial portion of this aid, approximately $43.7 billion, has been allocated to Ukraine starting from February 24, 2022, the onset of the conflict. The extent of US support is staggering, encompassing a wide range of military equipment, supplies, and financial assistance.
The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a respected German research institute specializing in gathering data on global aid directed to Ukraine, recently revealed that the US has gone above and beyond by providing an estimated $76 billion in humanitarian, financial, and military support to Kyiv since the conflict’s inception.
During the first year of the conflict, the US provided Ukraine’s military with an impressive array of equipment and supplies amounting to approximately $29.8 billion, according to data compiled by Anadolu based on Pentagon reports. This assistance included 300 million rounds of small arms ammunition, Patriot and HAWK air defense systems, M777 howitzer artillery pieces, MRAP vehicles, Bradley armored infantry fighting vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters, T-72B tanks, High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs).
US military aid to Ukraine approaches nearly $45B since its war with Russia
— Anadolu English (@anadoluagency) September 12, 2023
Overall, the total assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine since the conflict’s inception is substantial, accounting for approximately 5 percent of the US defense budget for the 2023 fiscal year and around 0.2 percent of its gross domestic product, as highlighted in a report by the Hudson Institute published in July.
As the global geopolitical landscape remains uncertain, Germany’s commitment to aiding Ukraine is unwavering. The commissioning of Rheinmetall to supply an additional 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles underscores Germany’s dedication to bolstering Ukraine’s defense. With Rheinmetall’s exceptional overhaul efforts and Germany’s generous military aid, Ukraine is better positioned than ever to protect its sovereignty and national security in the face of emerging challenges.