Helping the Helpers

Rheinmetall Will Supply German Authorities With Up To 6 Million Masks

In a shining example of the way in which our defence industries are making strenuous efforts to help combat the current global crisis in any possible manner, Rheinmetall announced on 2 April that is stepping in to support the German government by supplying high-quality respiratory protection masks.

Thanks to its global production and commercial networks, particularly in China, Rheinmetall has succeeded in sourcing urgently-needed protective equipment. Within a few days, around a million Chinese-made masks (protection class FFP2) will be supplied to the responsible Bundeswehr procurement authorities in Koblenz. Together with a partner company, Rheinmetall has taken complete charge of the procurement and transport logistics as well as quality inspection.

A contract to this effect has now been signed with the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-service Support (BAAINBw). The contract encompasses an option for the supply of a further five million masks by Rheinmetall.

At the beginning of March, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health turned to the Ministry of Defence for help in combatting the coronavirus pandemic. Together with procurement agencies of the Federal Ministries of Finance and the Interior, BAAINBw is now working to source the urgently-required equipment for maintaining the healthcare system and protecting the population.

Rheinmetall feels a strong obligation to lend a hand in the current crisis by helping to overcome the shortage of medical equipment – not simply because it is one of the Bundeswehr’s top equipment suppliers. “In taking this step, we’re not just trying to do whatever we can to halt the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. We specifically want to help the people who are helping us: doctors, emergency medical technicians, nurses, care providers – in short, the folks whose help we all depend on. And that goes for the civil and medical sphere alike,” explained Rheinmetall AD Board Chairman, Armin Papperger.

These masks provide protection from infection by the COVID-19 virus and other pathogens. They have become very hard to find in the global marketplace. Rheinmetall sees its success in securing large numbers of these masks as a first step in providing fast, unbureaucratic assistance to healthcare providers and medical facilities.

In addition, Rheinmetall has identified further areas in which it can provide quick support. For example, a number of the Group’s business units are able to produce disinfectant in their first-class laboratories. In South Africa, a plant operated by subsidiary Rheinmetall Denel Munition is already producing around 1,000l of disinfectant a day, something urgently required by the country’s healthcare sector.

Rheinmetall is also examining ways of furnishing protective clothing and more masks on a large scale, as well as assembling medical equipment such as ventilators.

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