Germany to buy 18 Leopard 2 tanks to replenish stocks -sources

FILE PHOTO: Recruits of the Swiss army Tank School 21 perform an attack exercise with the Leopard 2 tank in Bure

(Reuters) -Germany plans to buy 18 Leopard 2 tanks and 12 self-propelled howitzers to replenish stocks depleted by deliveries to Ukraine, according to procurement documents seen by Reuters on Friday.

The tanks order will come to 525 million euros ($578 million) while the howitzers have a price tag of 190.7 million euros, all of which are to be delivered by 2026 at the latest, said the finance ministry documents meant for the parliament.

The tank purchase includes an option for another 105 tanks for about 2.9 billion euros, said a defence source, who added that the German parliament's budget committee was expected to sign off on the deal at the end of May.

Germany has supplied 18 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine since the Russian invasion last year and has said it intends to plug the gap with new tanks as soon as possible.

The 12 howitzers are part of defence ministry plans signed off by the German parliament in March to buy up to 28 howitzers as replacements.

The Leopard is jointly manufactured by KMW and Rheinmetall, while the howitzers are made by KMW.

The finance ministry, which is involved with the budgeting process, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Bloomberg first reported the tank order.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Andreas Rinke in Berlin and Kanjyik Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Miranda Murray, Friederike Heine and Mark Potter)