German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is preparing another export of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, according to a report by business daily Handelsblatt, citing industry sources.
For this purpose, the company has acquired 50 tanks of the older type Leopard 1 from the Belgian company OIP Land Systems, the newspaper reported.
The chief executive of OIP Land Systems, Freddy Versluys, told British newspaper The Guardian that he had sold nearly 50 tanks to another European government, which he could not name because of a confidentiality clause. He also said he could not disclose the price.
Versluys added that it could take up to six months for them to be on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Handelsblatt reported that the tanks were now to be re-equipped for the war effort in Ukraine at the German sites of the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group.
About 30 of the 50 vehicles would be delivered, it said.
The Leopard 1 is the predecessor of the Leopard 2 currently used by the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces.