By Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2023

BERLIN (AP) — The German military has ordered 18 new Leopard 2 tanks to replace vehicles that were sent to Ukraine earlier this year, a leading defense company said Friday.

Kraus-Maffei Wegmann said a contract for the Leopard 2A8 tanks was signed with the federal office for military equipment. It didn’t give financial details, but the German parliament’s budget committee on Wednesday approved funding of some 525 million euros ($563 million).

The company said that delivery of the new tanks is scheduled to start in 2025, and that the deal includes options for another 105 Leopard 2A8 tanks.

Kraus-Maffei Wegmann also will produce 12 new self-propelled howitzers for the German military as part of an option agreed to in March, the company said.

Germany’s defense minister pushed for new tanks to be acquired as quickly as possible after the government agreed in late January to provide 14 Leopard 2A6 battle tanks to Ukraine.

That number was increased a few weeks later to 18 as Berlin and others scrambled to assemble two battalions of Leopard 2 tanks for Kyiv.

Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands also have agreed to provide Ukraine with refurbished Leopard 1 tanks, an older model that the German military hasn’t used for two decades.

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