In Background, Europe - East

This article originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated for Russia Insider by Anita Zalaldinova

The newly released by NATO alignment against Russia, as a new threat, means that Germany will supply battle tanks to Poland and at the same time increase its own troops. The US expects all NATO countries to invest two percent of GDP in weapons. The UK has already been snubbed because the British budget deviates from this rule.

Germany's Leopard 2 A5 tank, image from Wikipedia

Germany’s Leopard 2 A5 tank, image from Wikipedia

Reuters reports that Poland feels that ‘The Baltic States are massively threatened by Russia because of the Ukrainian crisis, and have been re-arming for quite some time’. Germany will therefore provide Poland with the promised tanks, although the Department of Defence plans to increase its own armoured troops.

‘Of course Germany is observant in this regard’, ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said on Monday in Berlin.

The federal government agreed in 2013 to sell NATO partners 105 battle tanks of the modern type Leopard 2-A5 and 14 of the older type 2-A4. Flosdorff did not specifically comment on how many battle tanks out of 225 scheduled have already been in possession of the Federal Armed Forces. In military circles, however, people say of several dozens. A number of others Leopard 2 are in the possession of the defence industry.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen last week announced strengthening of the tank troops because of the ‘new security strategy’. A hitherto existing, though only on paper, tank battalion in Lower Saxony Mountains is to be equipped with personnel and materials. Therefore the Minister stopped delivery and scrapping of tanks.

In addition, according to von der Leyen, the Federal Armed Forces are to be further provided to one hundred percent with the necessary large equipment, and also other material such as night vision goggles. According to the previous plans, units would only be provided with large equipment by an average of 75 percent and share the material.

The rest of the article is a rough translation.

Flosdorff also indicated that the surplus money at the end of the year could be used for the purchase of additional equipment.

‘Whenever the financial latitude occurs, we will use to remedy the deficiency not only in the major equipment, but many small equipment as well (…)’, he said. ‘This can also result in the large equipment not even being delivered’.

The Federal Armed Forces have been criticized in recent years that they did not spent hundreds of millions of euros of their budget. The Ministry justified this with delayed shipments of arms that were be reported by the industry so late in the financial year that the substitute purchase of another device was hardly possible.

With a new military doctrine, the Federal government has identified Russia as a threat. As part of NATO, the Federal Armed Forces also benefit from the new enemy and hope for additional tax dollars.

The United States keep eye on the NATO members to also provide sufficient funds for their armies pursuant to the new allocation of Russia as a threat.

Washington has expressed concerns over cuts in the British defence budget. The cuts could jeopardize the cooperation of British and US troops in future armed conflicts, said the US Chief of General Staff Raymond Odierno in an interview published on Monday by the ‘Daily Telegraph’. He urged the UK to make the defence spending at the agreed with NATO level of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The Ministry of Defence in London promptly declared it would hold on to the target. Decisions on expenditure for the financial year 2015/16 have not yet been met. Over the past four years, Britain has had the defence budget cut by eight percent in order to reduce the budget deficit.

In the past, British and US divisions worked side by side, said the senior officer of the US Army with regard to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In case of further cuts, it will possibly be only one British brigade or a battalion within an American division.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has announced a higher defence budget in 2017. ‘Of course we must support higher performance of the defence forces under the conditions of crisis and instability in the world’, the CDU politician said to ‘Bild am Sonntag’.

However, this does not yet apply for the next year.

More reporting on Germany and Poland’s tank and shell production, including German sales to Poland, here, on Defense Industry Daily from 2014:


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