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Guttenberg rushes to re-equip Bundeswehr

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Guttenberg rushes to re-equip Bundeswehr
Photo: Mowag
07:51 CEST+02:00
The speedy upgrade to Bundeswehr weaponry in response to the bloodshed of Good Friday in Afghanistan continues with Germany set to fast-track an order for 60 new Swiss-made armoured cars, according to a Thursday media report.

In response to the deteriorating security situation in northern Afghanistan, where German soldiers are stationed, the Defence Ministry has this week signed an expedited order for 60 Eagle IV vehicles from the Swiss manufacturer Mowag, the Financial Times Deutschland reported.

Soldiers had reportedly claimed before the Good Friday ambush that they were short on armoured vehicles – and the latest revelation signals a growing sense of urgency at the Defence Ministry about the need for new hardware.

An order for a further 90 Eagle IVs is planned for 2011.

The Good Friday Taliban ambush, in which three German soldiers were killed, sparked a furious debate about the equipping of the Bundeswehr troops.

Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg announced at the beginning of the week that he wanted to provide the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan with 150 to 200 new vehicles this year. This was followed by his announcement during a snap visit to Afghanistan that the soldiers would also receive “as soon as possible” two new PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, which fire heavy artillery up to 40 kilometres.

At present, Germany has about 975 armoured vehicles of varying models and makes on the ground in Afghanistan. Troops had long complained they needed more, the FTD reported.

The Defence Ministry now believes that, owing to the growing threat of ambushes and booby traps, about 600 of the existing armoured vehicles need to be replaced as soon as possible, the paper said.

The boost to armoured vehicles is also urgent simply because the number of German troops stationed in Afghanistan is set to rise from 4,500 to 5,350.

The Ministry estimates the cost of the 60 Eagle IVs and accessories to total €61.5 million.

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