Germany-based military vehicle manufacturer Rheinmetall has released its plans for a new factory in Eastern Slovakia as it works on securing a contract to build 150 infantry fighting vehicles for the Slovak armed forces.
The Slovak defense ministry has budgeted €1.7 billion (approx. $1.9B) for the replacement of its ageing fleet of Soviet-era BVP-1, BVP-2 and BVP M tracked combat vehicles.
Rheinmetall said it would re-invest more than half of this sum into the Slovak economy, with the new factory taking responsibility for delivering 80 percent of the Slovak armed forces’ IFV fleet.
The company is offering its KF41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicle as part of the Slovak Armed Forces’ re-equipment program. The Lynx KF41 is offered in many variants by the company, including an anti-tank and fire support variant and a combat support vehicle variant. It weighs around 40 tons and can carry 3+8 soldiers
The centerpiece of Rheinmetall’s announcement is a new factory at Moldava nad Bodvou, a town of 12,000 inhabitants in Eastern Slovakia.
The facility would comprise 12,000 square meters of production lines plus a 15,000 square meter test area. The whole project represents an investment by Rheinmetall of €30 million.
“Moldava nad Bodvou sees this is project as a great opportunity to bring further prosperity and economic growth to the town and to contribute to the security of the Slovak Republic. We are interested in supporting Rheinmetall and providing assistance in the construction of their new plant,” Slavomir Borovsky, the Mayor of Moldava nad Bodvou, commented.
The new factory would become Rheinmetall’s principal center in the Slovak Republic, responsible for the delivery of 80 per cent of the defense ministry’s new IFVs.
The Moldava plant will manufacture chassis and turrets for the Lynx IFV as well as handling systems integration, testing and paintwork. It will also be equipped to provide maintenance for the Slovak IFV fleet.
Slovakia has already trialed the Lynx IFV, as well as the CV90 offered by Sweden and the Ascod combat vehicle from General Dynamics European Land Systems. The same trio was also evaluated by the Czech Republic last year in a program that was subsequently halted after no bidders met all Czech MOD requirements, as per an official statement at the time.