In order to make it easier to obtain production permits for its plants in West Germany, two independent companies are formed: Rheinmetall AG in Düsseldorf and Borsig AG in Berlin. Rheinmetall-Borsig AG becomes a pure holding company.
The new operating companies receive permission to manufacture civil sector products. In Berlin, Borsig AG becomes one of Germany's largest manufacturers of steam boilers and refrigeration systems. In Düsseldorf, typewriters, shock absorbers, elevators, tannery machines as well as transport and loading equipment (e.g. cranes) are built.
On June 23rd, Röchling'sche Eisen- und Stahlwerke GmbH takes over a majority interest in Rheinmetall-Borsig AG from the Federal Republic of Germany, the legal successor of the German Reich. At the beginning of August, its subsidiary Borsig AG is sold to the Salzgitter group.
In November of the same year, the General Meeting in Berlin votes to rename the company Rheinmetall Berlin AG. Its Rhineland-based subsidiary, Rheinmetall AG, is transformed into Rheinmetall GmbH in 1957. In parallel with the creation of the Bundeswehr, Rheinmetall reverts to the production of military equipment, manufacturing machineguns, automatic cannon and ammunition for the country's new armed forces.
Apart from light weapons, Rheinmetall GmbH now begins manufacturing heavier ordnance as well, i.e. gun tubes and gun carriages. Rheinmetall begins producing the main armament for tanks and artillery systems. A tank-killer gun, a standard tank turret and a self-propelled howitzer are all developed in Düsseldorf.
Rheinmetall acquires a majority stake in NICO Pyrotechnik Hanns-Jürgen Diederichs KG of Trittau.
In Unterlüß, Rheinmetall GmbH erects a state-of-the-art temperature testing facility for climatic testing of weapons and military equipment; it is extensively used for testing civil sector products as well.
Main production of the FH 70 field howitzer commences.
The first Leopard 2 main battle tank is delivered to the Bundeswehr. It is fitted with a 120 mm smoothbore gun developed by Rheinmetall GmbH, widely hailed as a major technical breakthrough in Nato tank armament.
Diehl Munitionssysteme GmbH & Co. KG and Rheinmetall jointly found Gesellschaft für Intelligente Wirksysteme mbH (GIWS). The company specialises in intelligent ammunition and other lethal mechanisms for a wide variety of operational scenarios.
Rheinmetall celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Rheinmetall GmbH acquires a 60-percent-share of MaK System GmbH of Kiel, a unit of Fried. Krupp GmbH. MaK System GmbH not only makes high-quality tactical systems, but also special vehicles for use in environmental protection. In 1992 Rheinmetall GmbH takes over the remaining 40 percent of the company, absorbing it as a wholly own subsidiary. The same year, MaK supplies the Bundeswehr with the first Wiesel armoured weapons platforms.
After more than a century, Rheinmetall GmbH abandons its longstanding site in Düsseldorf-Derendorf, concentrating its defence technology production capacities at Unterlüß, its "Competence Centre" in northern Germany. Its R&D, sales and headquarters units move into new quarters in Ratingen, just north of Düsseldorf.
By taking up a stake in WNC-Nitrochemie GmbH of Aschau am Inn, a producer of powder, propellants and combustible cartridge components, Rheinmetall underscores its commitment to munitions production.
Rheinmetall GmbH changes its name to Rheinmetall Industrie GmbH.
Rheinmetall Industrie GmbH acquires a 60-percent-stake in Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH from the Nuremberg-based Diehl group, augmenting Rheinmetall's expertise in medium calibre automatic cannon systems.
Transformation of Rheinmetall Industrie GmbH into a stock corporation.
In December, acting in cooperation with Badenwerk AG (as a dormant partner), Rheinmetall acquires a 51-percent-stake in STN Atlas Elektronik GmbH from the bankrupt Bremer Vulkan concern, the remaining 49 percent being taken over by the third partner of the consortium, British Aerospace. Industrial management of STN Atlas Elektronik is assigned to Rheinmetall. A company with global stature in the domain of defence electronics and civil maritime electronics, STN Atlas Elektronik reinforces Rheinmetall's competence in weapons and ammunition as well as in systems and equipment.
Rheinmetall acquires a 33-percent-interest in the Dutch company Eurometaal N.V. of Zaandam
Rheinmetall Industrie AG prepares for future changes in the defence technology sector by reorganising is corporate structure. To improve its ability to cooperate on the national and international level, it spins off its operational units, converting them into legally autonomous corporations. The Weapons & Ammunition division of Rheinmetall Industrie AG is transferred to the newly founded corporation Rheinmetall W&M GmbH, jointly based in Unterlüß and Ratingen.
MaK System GmbH delivers the first serially produced Keiler armoured mine clearing vehicle to the Bundeswehr. A prototype of the armoured vehicle is already operating successfully in Bosnia.
Rheinmetall takes over the 25-percent-share in STN Atlas group held by Energie Baden-Württemberg (formerly Badenwerk AG), giving the company a controlling interest in STN Atlas GmbH. Effective January 1st, STN Atlas Elektronik spins off its civil electronics activities, transferring them to the newly founded STN Atlas Marine Electronics GmbH of Hamburg.
Also in January, WNC Nitrochemie of Aschau am Inn (a subsidiary of Rheinmetall Industrie AG) and the Wimmis, Switzerland-based powder & propellant unit of SM Schweizerische Munitionsunternehmung of Thun, Switzerland, merge their operations in a joint venture, Nitrochemie Wimmis AG.
Jointly developed by Rheinmetall and MaK, the first unit of a new tube artillery system, the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, is transferred to the Bundeswehr. MaK's Rhino mine clearing system goes into operation in Croatia.
Rheinmetall Industrie AG takes over the defence technology component of BUCK System GmbH of Neuenburg, which is subsequently incorporated as BUCK Neue Technologien GmbH.