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NATO battalion at Russian border to get German tanks — defense ministry

October 27, 2016, 16:31 UTC+3 BERLIN
NATO’s multi-national battalion in Lithuania will have not only German military servicemen, but it will also receive Leopard 2 tanks
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The Leopard 2 tank of the German armed forces

The Leopard 2 tank of the German armed forces

© EPA/JENS BUETTNER

BERLIN, October 27. /TASS/. NATO’s multi-national battalion in Lithuania will have not only German military servicemen, but it will also receive Leopard 2 tanks, German Defense Ministry representative Thomas Frueh told TASS on Thursday.

"Indeed, the decision was made to dispatch tanks, but we cannot say what their numerical strength will be," he said, adding that this "will be determined proceeding from the needs." The ministry officer said the tanks will also be engaged in military exercises. "The main aim is to demonstrate their presence," he said.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that Germany was planning to dispatch 400 to 600 military servicemen to Lithuania. All in all, the strength of the NATO battalion will be about 1,000 servicemen. Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway and Croatia are also expected to send their armed forces personnel to Lithuania.

The Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the German Bundeswehr. They have been in service since 1977, and at the present time, the German army is supplied with the updated version - the Leopard2A7+, which is better protected, has a ‘digital turret’ and equipment that integrates tanks into a single automated environment.

The tanks are equipped with the Rheinmetall 120mm gun and a remotely controlled combat module of auxiliary armament.

Last year, the German Defense Ministry made the decision to buy 100 more Leopard 2s, bringing their number to 328 tanks in the German army.

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