Rheinmetall industrial partnerships set to bring benefits to Slovakia
Industrial partnerships form a vital element of 21st-century defence procurements. By ensuring the involvement of local companies, suppliers can bring significant economic benefits to local economies while making the most of country-specific knowledge and expertise. Rheinmetall, the producer of the Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) which will be a contender for Slovakia’s IFV renewal programme, has a history of establishing extensive involvement for local companies and has already started this process in support of its bid for the Slovak IFV renewal project.
Picture: Rheinmetall intends to apply for a Slovak modernization program for the renewal of the armored fleet with its Lynx KF41 vehicle (in the picture) | Martin Šiška / CC BY-NC-ND
Strength through cooperation
Rheinmetall’s already-established cooperation with local companies in Slovakia includes the provision of specialized components for Lynx vehicles, leveraging local manufacturing and innovation expertise. On 18 August 2021, Ray Service and Rheinmetall signed a contract for the production in Slovakia of electrical components for Lynx vehicles.
The agreement with Ray Service covers the production of cables and harnesses for the Hungarian Army’s Lynx KF41 programme, and is worth more than €4 million. Follow-on orders are expected, and with the Slovak Ministry of Defence expected to announce an infantry fighting vehicle renewal programme soon, the partnership is set to extend to Rheinmetall’s Lynx offer in Slovakia. The company’s cooperation with Ray Service already includes work for programmes in the Czech Republic, Australia and the UK, meaning the new Slovak cooperation with the company will build on previous successes.
Ray Service’s cooperation with Rheinmetall on the Lynx and other programmes involves the supply of vitally important cable harnesses, electromechanical assemblies, and external lighting systems, as well as the localisation of third-party equipment such as NBC systems, fire extinguishing systems, turret drive systems, tracks and road wheels. Ray Service is based in Staré Město, Czech Republic and Zilina, Slovakia, and has been a trusted Rheinmetall partner since 2011.
“Our cooperation with Ray Service is a perfect example of how local industrial partners can grow to become a key part of our global supply chain,” says Oliver Mittelsdorf, Senior Vice President Sales at Rheinmetall. “By incorporating Ray Service’s formidable expertise in electrical components into our Lynx programmes, we can benefit from local knowledge while making sure our presence is a force for good in the countries where we operate: creating jobs, investing in local infrastructure, and driving new revenue streams for local partners.”
A Slovak defence industry network
On August 25, at the IDEB exhibition in Bratislava, Rheinmetall signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CSM Industry s.r.o of Slovakia. This MoU covers collaboration for the production of major components and parts for the Lynx with regard to the forthcoming Slovak tracked combat vehicle tender.
Picture: On August 25, at the IDEB exhibition in Bratislava, Rheinmetall signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CSM Industry s.r.o of Slovakia. | Martin Šiška / CC BY-NC-ND
This partnership, established at an early stage of the Slovak IFV renewal process, underlines Rheinmetall’s commitment to the localisation of industrial processes for its programmes worldwide. CSM Industry will contribute to the Lynx bid with its extensive experience in the production of welded parts, steel structures and machines. Like Ray Service, CSM Industry will enjoy opportunities for the possible integration of products and services into Rheinmetall’s global supply chain.
The cooperation also involves the Slovak company’s delivery of specially adjusted parts, with and without ballistic protection, for Rheinmetall’s UDS HX 8x8 trucks. At the IDEB event in Bratislava, the Rheinmetall Military MAN UDS HX 8x8 excavator was presented for the first time, produced in a joint project with CSM Industry. The truck is intended to support engineer troops, featuring a crane as well as a heavy excavator with a 14.6-metre telescopic arm capable of lifting loads of up to 7 tonnes.
Picture: At the IDEB event in Bratislava, the Rheinmetall Military MAN UDS HX 8x8 excavator was presented for the first time, produced in a joint project with CSM Industry. | Martin Šiška / CC BY-NC-ND
Lynx KF41: the logical choice for Slovakia
Rheinmetall’s innovative Lynx IFV is a strong contender for Slovakia’s replacement programme for its Infantry Fighting Vehicle fleet. The Hungarian Army became the first Lynx customer in 2020, and this modular, adaptable vehicle is also a leading contender for fighting vehicle renewal programmes from Australia to the U.S.A. In March, the Lynx became the first candidate for the Slovak IFV programme to present a static and dynamic demonstration of its capabilities at the Slovak Technical and Testing Institute in Záhorie, to dignitaries from the Slovak Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces.
“The Lynx’s high degree of modularity and adaptability makes it uniquely suited to counter the threats of the battlefields of today and tomorrow,” says Oliver Mittelsdorf. “Capable of being switched as needed between a wide range of variants covering the spectrum of mission types, the Lynx offers flexibility, lethality and survivability to soldiers, operators and commanders. It’s no surprise that the Lynx is making waves around the world, and we look forward to familiarising Slovak decision-makers with its remarkable capabilities.”