Rheinmetall AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Founded 13 April 1889
Founder(s) Heinrich Ehrhardt
Headquarters Düsseldorf, Germany
Key people Klaus Eberhardt (CEO and chairman of the executive board), Klaus Greinert (Chairman of the supervisory board)
Industry Automotive, defense
Products Automotive parts, military vehicles and systems
Revenue (turnover) €3.989 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income €297 million (2010)[1]
Profit €162 million (2010)[1]
Total assets €4.460 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity €1.355 billion (end 2010)[1]
Employees 19,980 (end 2010)[1]

Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and defence company with factories in Düsseldorf, Kassel and Unterlüß. The company has a long tradition of making guns and artillery pieces. The company is also involved in a variety of advanced metal-working and milling technologies, allowing it to provide special high-quality components for small arms in addition to heavy weapon production.


With help from a consortium of banks, Rheinische Metallwaren- und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft was founded on 13 April 1889 by Heinrich Ehrhardt (born 1840 in Zella/Rhön - died in 1928 Zella-Mehlis).

During the Spanish Civil War, Rheinmetall-Borsig, then controlled by Hermann Goering, was a major supplier of arms to the Spanish Republicans, to Goering’s profit, even though German forces were fighting with the Spanish Nationalists. They were shipped via Pyrkal in Greece.

Rheinmetall built the MG 42, the Wehrmacht's main general-purpose medium machine gun. Its successor, the MG3, is still used by the Bundeswehr, as well as other armies.

Rheinmetall made bomb fuses during World War II. The most notable was a double-capacitor design, invented by Herbert Ruhlman and patented in the UK before the war, which was particularly dangerous to defuse should the bomb not explode on impact. Many bomb disposal personnel were killed. The patent for the fuse was filed in the UK two years before Hitler came to power in 1933. The UK Armed Forces spotted this and reference to the patent helped enormously with disarming these early bombs, although Rheinische Metallwaren- und Maschinenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft and Ruhlman constantly innovated with many new electrical fuses being added to the Luftwaffe armoury throughout the war. The U.S. Patent Office put a 32-year secrecy order on a similar patent by the University of Illinois in 1948.

In 1990 the company acquired a majority stake in the military vehicle production facilities of Krupp's Kiel plant; MaK System GmbH.[2][3]

In 1993 Rheinmetall acquired Mauser AG and in 1996 and 1999 the majority share-holdings of STN Atlas and Oerlikon Contraves, all of which are major European defense companies. STN Atlas was later split into Atlas Elektronik and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, the latter is now a full subsidiary of Rheinmetall.

In March 2008, Rheinmetall acquired Dutch defence company Stork PKV.

Military productsEdit

Examples include:


WWII and pre-WWII ProductsEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Annual Report 2010". Rheinmetall. Retrieved on 3 April 2011.
  2. Michael Brzoska (1992). Restructuring of arms production in Western Europe. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute / Oxford University Press, 137–138. 
  3. "Rheinmetall AG - 1981-1992".

External linksEdit

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