MBDA restarts anti-tank mine production as Ukraine war depletes stocks

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European missile producer MBDA is restarting production of its Cold War-era PARM directional anti-tank mine after Germany ordered thousands of the tripwire systems to replace stocks delivered to Ukraine.

Germany’s federal office for equipment procurement is buying 2,600 of the off-route mines from MBDA subsidiary TDW, with an option for 10,000 more, the office said in a statement Tuesday. The parliamentary budget committee had previously approved the project for a total amount of around €68 million ($74 million).

“The order intake marks a first milestone of the ramp up of our production capacities,” TDW Managing Director Andreas Seitz said in a statement. “PARM will help Germany, as well as other nations, develop and expand their area-denial capabilities.”

After decades of relative calm in Europe, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine heralded the return of high-intensity and manoeuvre warfare, with both countries deploying thousands of tanks and armored vehicles. Mines have been instrumental in blunting assaults on both sides, with Germany supplying Ukraine with 14,900 anti-tank mines so far, according to a tally of military aid.

TDW will produce a demonstration batch of the PARM DM22 from 2025, with the first serial deliveries to German troops in 2026. Follow-up orders can be placed in batches of 1,000 units each, according to the procurement office.

The weapon was developed and manufactured during the 1990s by TDW for the German Bundeswehr, and has been out of production since 1998, after the end of the Cold War. With production restarting after a quarter of a century, the system will have to be recertified, MBDA Germany spokesman Günter Abel told Defense News in an email.

The company sees potential for export customers mainly in NATO members in Northern and Eastern Europe, as NATO and EU countries recognize the need to protect their borders from aggressors, according to Abel.

“Although PARM was originally intended as a Cold War anti-tank weapon system, it has proven to be an reliable and effective weapon against state of the art main battle tanks on modern battlefields,” Abel said. “That’s why there is currently an increasing demand.”

The fully automatic directional mine is mounted on a tripod and can take out tanks and armored combat vehicles. The PARM contains a shaped charge that can be effective at a distance and can be triggered by a fiber-optical sensor or remote control, allowing the mine to operate from covert positions.

The system can be carried by a single soldier, and is combat proven, MBDA said.

“TDW provides core competencies in the field of anti-access/area-denial systems and warheads,” MBDA Germany Managing Director Thomas Gottschild said in a statement. “With the procurement, PARM is in the process of returning to serial production, making it the most available, most powerful roadside counter-mobility system on the market.”

Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.

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