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Makers of Leopard 2 tank embroiled in legal battle over rights

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

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, a Munich-based firm that first developed the Leopard 2 within the Seventies and builds its chassis, has filed an injunction in opposition to 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 instructed 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 keeping with an announcement by a district court docket in Munich, KMW has disputed this as “unfaithful, deceptive and infringing on their rights”, and requested that the court docket restrains Rheinmetall from making such claims sooner or later.

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

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

The 2 firms have benefited from booming demand for arms ensuing from the warfare in Ukraine, which prompted German chancellor Olaf Scholz to reverse many years of pacifist coverage and promise to ramp up the army of Europe’s largest financial system.

Rheinmetall’s share worth is up practically 40 per cent because the begin of the yr 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 continuously within the press, the place he has change into a powerful advocate for the European defence trade. A few of his statements, reminiscent of a name to construct a tank manufacturing unit in Ukraine, have been privately questioned by others within the trade.

Privately owned KMW has taken a a lot quieter method, staying within the shadows of its rival in the case of discussions of German defence capabilities.

Extra reporting by Alexander Vladkov