Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have established a joint venture in Lithuania for providing comprehensive logistical support for combat vehicles belonging to the Lithuanian armed forces as well as those of other NATO nations stationed in the Baltic States. The idea is to take advantage of synergy effects and to promote multinational interoperability between the armed forces and defence sectors of NATO member states. Known as Lithuania Defense Services, the company has now started its work in Jonava. The two partners each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture. Sebastian Dietz has been named managing director. The state-of-the-art maintenance and logistics centre in Jonava occupies a roughly 12,000-square-metre site. Strategically located near Rukla, Lithuania’s largest military base and home to the NATO Battlegroup Lithuania, it has a direct rail link.
One of the company’s main tasks will be to look after the “Vilkas”, Lithuania’s version of the multipurpose Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle. It will also maintain other combat vehicles of the Baltic States and NATO forces deployed in the region during Enhanced Forward Presence rotations. These include other Boxer systems, the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo armoured recovery vehicle, various versions of the Leopard 2 main battle tank, and the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. As the original equipment manufacturers of all these platforms, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann possess unsurpassed expertise here. The presence of the partners on location means that NATO units will benefit from shorter reaction times and improved supply chains thanks to expanded capacity in the region.
Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and arms manufacturer, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. Its shares are traded on the Frankfurt stock exchange. Rheinmetall was founded in 1889 as “Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenbaufabrik Aktiengesellschaft”. Today, as an integrated technology group, Rheinmetall AG, which is listed on the stock exchange, stands for a solid company that operates successfully internationally and is active in various markets with an innovative range of products and services. It manufactured steel products, including armaments. During the post-WWI disarmament of Germany, the company diversified, but by the 1930s armament manufacture resumed. In 1933, it acquired A. Borsig GmbH, which manufactured locomotives. The Vehicle Systems division offers a field-proven and versatile vehicle portfolio on wheels and tracks. This includes combat, support, logistics and special vehicles and is constantly evolving.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG (KMW) is an arms industry company based in Munich, Germany. KMW’s predecessor company, Krauss-Maffei, started in 1931 from a merger of the two Munich firms of Maffei (founded 1838) and Krauss & Co. (founded 1860). The company produces various types of equipment as well as rail locomotives, tanks, self-propelled artillery, and other armoured vehicles. Maffei also built other steam-operated vehicles and, later, manufactured vehicles with combustion engines, including locomotives, trolleybuses and buses. In 1960s Kraus-Maffei entered production of armoured fighting vehicles, starting with Leopard 1 tanks for the Bundeswehr. KMW was formed in 1999 when the defense division of KraussMaffei Group was spun-off and merged with Wegmann & Co. Since 2015, KMW is part of KMW+Nexter Defense Systems.