Rheinmetall on Tuesday broke ground for a new factory in Lower Saxony, Germany that will produce artillery ammunition, explosives and rocket artillery components.
The factory will eventually manufacture some 200,000 artillery shells a year, along with up to 1,900 tonnes of RDX explosive and, optionally, other components for producing ammunition charges.
In addition, production of rocket engines and possibly warheads could take place here, which will be necessary for the planned German rocket artillery project, for example.
“To secure Germany’s strategic sovereignty in the large-calibre ammunition domain, we’re creating a national production facility that sets new standards and will primarily meet the needs of the German Bundeswehr”, declared Rheinmetall AG executive board chairman Armin Papperger, going on to note that “with Werk Niedersachsen (as the new factory will be caled), we’re establishing another European centre for producing artillery ammunition and other effectors at our historic Unterlüß site. The move reflects our sense of responsibility and resolve to contribute materially to the ability of our country and our NATO partners to defend itself.”
This company-financed project represents investment volume in the €300 million range. Rheinmetall is therefore shouldering the entire cost of constructing the factory, with no government involvement.
Rheinmetall’s new factory will make it possible to meet the Bundeswehr’s own needs through domestic production and – especially in a crisis – to assure unrestricted transfers to partner nations. Previous dependency on export permits issued by other countries will thus be eliminated, giving Germany full sovereignty in this national security-relevant domain.
In the process, Rheinmetall will create a complete value-added chain for artillery ammunition in Unterlüß, enabling it to offer the ‘full shot’ from a single source, including the shell, fuse, explosive charge and propelling charge.
Werk Niedersachsen will operate largely autonomously, with all the work steps necessary for producing artillery shells carried out on location.
Following a construction period of around twelve months annual capacity will reach 100,000 shells in the second year of production, later rising to 200,000 a year.