German Lawmakers Approve More Than €6 Billion in Military Orders

(Bloomberg) -- German lawmakers approved orders for weapons and equipment for the military worth more than €6 billion ($6.5 billion), part of the ruling coalition’s drive to reverse years of neglect of the armed forces.

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The latest purchases backed by budget committee lawmakers at a meeting Wednesday in Berlin include Leopard battle tanks, Patriot air-defense systems and ammunition, according to people familiar with the planning, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who is trying to speed up Germany’s notoriously slow procurement process, told reporters that Wednesday’s approvals take the total for this year to almost €27 billion.

“These are long—term, important and urgently needed investments in our armed forces and in our defensive capabilities and our security,” he added.

The orders approved Wednesday, according to the people, are:

  • An additional 105 Leopard II A8 battle tanks for about €3 billion from Franco-German manufacturer KNDS

  • Four more Patriot air-defense systems for around €1.35 billion from US contractor RTX Corp., plus 100 guided missiles for €525 million (€200 million of that will be funded by Germany, with NATO partners contributing the rest)

  • 1,200 Mercedes-Benz Group AG transport vehicles at a cost of about €240 million

  • 155mm artillery shells made by Germany’s Diehl Defence GmbH & Co. KG and Norway’s Nammo AS for around €1.3 billion

  • Handgun ammunition from RWS GmbH and Metallwerk Elisenhütte GmbH for €450 million

Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged immediately after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine to expand and improve Germany’s armed forces and announced the creation of a special debt-financed fund worth €100 billion to pay for it.

He also promised that Germany will meet NATO’s target of spending at least 2% of gross domestic product on defense over the longer term, even after the fund is exhausted in 2027.

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