Saturday, October 10, 2009

Germany Offers Surplus Tanks to Greece

In an exclusive Hellenic Defense reports that the German government informed the Greek Defence Attache in Berlin that 140 to 160 Leopard 2A4 tanks could be made available to Greece at a very good price. The tanks are in "excellent" condition and are available immediately.

The move is seen as a gesture of good will by Berlin to the new Greek government and an attempt to bring back on track a series of bilateral issues, most important of which is the U-214 submarine problem (see here). Also, it should be remembered that Germany would like Greece to select the Eurofighter Typhoon as its next generation combat aircraft. The previous socialist government of Kostas Simitis had made a commitment to buy the Eurofighter but this was put on hold pending the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The next Greek (conservative) government bought 90 US made F-16s instead.

If the offer for the tanks goes ahead then the Greek Army could soon be in possession of over 500 Leopard 2 tanks. This would mean that the Greek Fourth Army Corps could outfit most of its armoured formations with Leopard 2 tanks.

Traditionally Greek socialist administrations have had better ties with Germany than the last conservative administration had so this offer could signal a thaw in a strained relationship.

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