BERLIN (Reuters) - German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall AG wants to build its first armored vehicles in Ukraine next year, Chief Executive Armin Papperger was cited as saying by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
Papperger said he expected a deal with Ukraine on the construction of Fuchs armored transport vehicles - named after the German word for fox - and Lynx infantry fighting vehicles by early next year.
"After the contract is signed, we want to have finished the first (Fuchs) within six-seven months, and the first Lynx within 12-13 months," he was quoted as saying.
Ukraine had announced in October a joint defence venture with Rheinmetall AG to help with the local production of some key equipment as well as to service and repair Western weapons sent to Kyiv against Russia's full-scale invasion.
Ukraine relies heavily on financial and military support from the West, which has poured in tens of billions of dollars of weapons since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Germany is a key ally.
Ukrainian officials hope cooperation with Western arms producers can help revive a domestic arms industry plagued by inefficiency and lack of transparency for years before Russia's invasion.
Kyiv also wants to try to reduce its reliance on Western aid, create an additional boost for the economy and speed up ammunition supplies to the front to support its counteroffensive against a bigger Russian army.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Leslie Adler)