The Bundeswehr plans to increase the target quantity of the Leopard 2 tanks in service, raising it up from 225 to 328 examples. This means that some of the tanks that are currently stored will be reintroduced into service and modernized.
As the DPA media outlet reports, the authorities of Germany confirmed the earlier reports published by “Der Spiegel”, according to which the quantity of the Leopard 2 tanks used by the Bundeswehr is to go up. The steps discussed will make it possible to completely equip six armoured battalions, in line with the existing, target structure. Auxiliary elements will also receive the required equipment.
During the last reform in Germany, quantity of the Leopard 2 tanks in service was reduced from 350 down to 225, which resulted from the system of a “dynamic” assignment of the equipment to the units. In the basic assumption these elements were to be using approximately 75% of the target quantity of the required armament. The cuts discussed above also made it possible to sell a single lot of 105 Leopard 2A5 tanks to Poland. Let us recall – 6 armoured battalions of the Bundeswehr shall have at least 264 tanks at their disposal (excluding the auxiliary units). First information related to the plans of fully equipping the German Army with tanks emerged as early as in February this year.
After the Leopard 2A5 tanks were transferred to Poland the Bundeswehr is to have, in total, 245 tanks at its disposal, in the modernized A5, A6 and A7 versions. Some of the Leopard 2A4 tanks that currently are in the storage would have to be reintroduced into service. Probably they will be utilized by the reserve units. According to the German defence ministry spokesman quoted by various news agencies, the latter tanks are to be modernized, starting from 2017.
Decision made by the Germans, in the light of the Russian threat, is going to realistically bolster the combat capabilities possessed by the Bundeswehr, in comparison with its current status. This would provide more credibility for the German Armed Forces, especially in the eyes of the allies. It should be remembered though, that introducing the tanks, along with an additional, active armoured battalion, would both be distributed across time.
What is more, the Germans should consider reinforcement of their capabilities when it comes to artillery and SHORAD/VSHORAD systems – these elements were a subject of significant cuts, carried out during the last reform of the Armed Forces. For example, the Gepard anti-aircraft systems which were used to protect the armoured units, have been irreversibly withdrawn from active use in the Bundeswehr.