In the ARD documentary “NATO: Who will protect Europe?”, the viewer discovers what life is like in the warehouses of the German-French arms company KNDS factory. These were recorded in Munich-Allach. KNDS is known for building the “Leopard 2” main battle tank and the report shows brutal truths with statements from KNDS CEO Ralf Ketzel.

Despite great demand nationally and internationally, the company can currently only build between 40 and 50 tanks per year. Additionally, a single Leopard 2 tank takes up to two years from order to delivery.

“Weapons of war cannot be stored”

According to the KNDS CEO, this is due to legal limitations, complex supply chains and complex approval procedures. “We are only allowed to produce what is allowed. “Weapons of war cannot be stored,” Ketzel said. “We can't be expected to build tanks on top of an arsenal.”

According to the report, around two thousand suppliers are involved in the production of the main battle tank. “The time limit arises from the fact that the battle tank product is of high quality and has a complex supply chain, for which many suppliers have to produce complex products in advance,” emphasizes Ketzel. In the past, however, this was different, according to the CEO, who has worked at the company since 1990. At that time there was still an assembly line, so “we could deliver about one tank per day.”

“That would be a big step forward.”

KNDS chief Ketzel would also like to see greater uniformity in the different types of “Leopard” tanks from each NATO member. “We can supply them with the same spare parts. There is no complexity. “If we could do it, it would be a really big step forward,” he stresses.

The Bundeswehr still has to wait a while to receive the 18 Leopard tanks it ordered. This is because other NATO countries are also supplied. This causes production delays in the KNDS halls in Munich.

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