Berlin has announced plans to bring dozens of mothballed tanks back into service. There is speculation the move is in response to increased demands from the Ukraine crisis.
German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Friday that the country's military will pay 22 million euros ($23.6 million) to buy back 100 Leopard 2 battle tanks from the defense industry.
The plans to equip Germany's Bundeswehr with additional tanks nearly reverses a four-year-old decision to cut the total from 350 to 225.
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 announcement came as NATO attempts to increase the response time of its rapid reaction force following Russia's annexation of Crimea last year and theongoing Ukraine crisis
The Reuters news agency reported that Berlin is seeking "to ensure its troops are ready for action in response to concerns over recent Russian assertiveness."
The modernization of the Leopard 2 fleet is scheduled to start in 2017.
lw/cmk (AP, Reuters)