Rheinmetall officially opened its new factory in Zalaegerszeg on 18 August 2023. The new plant marks a major milestone for Rheinmetall and underscores the Group’s commitment to Hungary. In future, this cutting-edge facility will produce the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the world’s most advanced IFV. Headquartered in Zalaegerszeg, Rheinmetall Hungary Zrt. focuses on the development and manufacture of state-of-the-art tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles for the Hungarian military, especially the new Lynx infantry fighting vehicle. Rheinmetall plays an important part in Hungary’s “Zrínyi 2026” initiative, which aims to reequip the country’s armed forces with locally produced modern equipment. The Hungarian defence ministry has contracted with Rheinmetall, Europe’s foremost maker of systems and equipment for ground forces, to supply it with the world’s most advanced tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, including associated services.
“The opening of Rheinmetall’s new factory in Zalaegerszeg is a significant step for our company and a sign of our close ties with the government and armed forces of Hungary, an EU partner and fellow NATO member state”, declared Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG. “We’re proud to be part of the growing industrial community in Zalaegerszeg and look forward to working with local partners and drawing on local talent. Hundreds of people are working together here in Zalaegerszeg to produce top-notch military systems for the Hungarian armed forces as well as export customers.”
Rheinmetall sees Hungary as a home market to be supplied with Hungarian-made products. In this context, a new, extremely well-equipped development, production and test centre is now being built on a 33-hectar site in Zala County in southwest Hungary, including an EMV/ CLIMA chamber and a firing tunnel. In designing the plant, special emphasis was placed on the latest industrialization principles as well as flexibility, growth potential, efficiency, the implementation of advanced transport and logistics concepts and cutting-edge production techniques. In the quality control domain, a 3D measurement cell will guarantee fast, permanent, automated assurance of component quality, setting a new standard here as well. Over the next few years, another 350 new jobs are planned at the Zalaegerszeg plant.
Rheinmetall supplying state-of-the-art tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles and associated service. The contract encompasses 209 Lynx KF41 in seven variants, plus 18 combat support vehicles, including Büffel/Buffalo 3 armoured recovery vehicles, as well as 38 military trucks. In addition, the contract incorporates products and services such as simulators; training and instruction; and an initial stock of spare parts and maintenance support. Throughout the Lynx’s decades-long anticipated lifespan, spare parts and regular maintenance will be needed to ensure operational readiness. In a first production phase, Hungary will be supplied with 46 Lynx systems configured as infantry fighting vehicles or for a command & control role, plus nine Büffel/Buffalo 3 ARVs, all of which will be made in Germany. Delivery has already begun. In a second phase, a joint venture will build and ship a further 172 Lynx systems and various combat support vehicles in Hungary.
The new factory will do more than just contribute to the regional economy. It will also promote innovation and the creation of highly qualified jobs. Looking ahead, Rheinmetall plans to keep investing in the plant in order to increase production capacity and integrate new technologies. In setting up this factory, Rheinmetall is signalling its confidence in the growth potential of the Hungarian economy and the skills and abilities of Hungarian workers. By creating jobs and fostering special knowledge, Rheinmetall is helping to further strengthen the Hungarian economy and defence industry, simultaneously establishing its ultramodern, future-proof Lynx infantry fighting vehicle – equipped with advanced high-performance sensors and the Lance weapon station – in the global market.
Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and arms manufacturer, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Hörder Verein [de] established the Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft in 1889. Banker and investor Lorenz Zuckermandel (1847–1928) was one of the founders and the first chairman of the supervisory board. The company manufactured steel products, including armaments. Its shares are traded on the Frankfurt stock exchange. Whilst based in Germany, Rheinmetall Defence has a global presence. As of early 2021 the existing Defence and Automotive units of Rheinmetall are to merge and five business divisions will remain: Weapon & Ammunition, Electronic Solutions, Vehicle Systems, Sensors & Actuators, and Materials & Trade. Rheinmetall has further shareholdings in ARTEC GmbH (Munich); PSM Projekt System & Management GmbH (Kassel), Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land Limited; and Defense Munitions LLC (Wilmington USA).