The German military plans to bring 100 mothballed tanks back into service amid speculation the move is in response to increased demands from the Ukraine crisis.
Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Friday that the military will pay 22 million euros to buy back the Leopard 2 main battle tanks from the defense industry, which has kept them in storage, The Associated Press reported Friday.The modernization of the Leopard 2 fleet is scheduled to start in 2017.
“The ministry has decided to raise the upper limit for the future to 328,” Flosdorff told a government news conference, confirming a report by German magazine Spiegel.
The decision to equip the Bundeswehr with a maximum 328 tanks nearly reverses a four-year-old decision to cut the total from 350 to 225.
The announcement came as NATO attempts to increase the response time of its 5,000-strong rapid reaction force amid the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.