A soldier of the German Bundeswehr walking past a Leopard II A5 tank at a military base in Torgelow
A soldier of the German Bundeswehr walking past a Leopard II A5 tank at a military base in Torgelow, eastern Germany in 2003. Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600-800 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, more than twice as many as originally envisaged, the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported. © Jens Koehler - AFP/DDP/File
A soldier of the German Bundeswehr walking past a Leopard II A5 tank at a military base in Torgelow
AFP
Last updated: June 17, 2012

German-Saudi battle tank deal twice as big as planned

Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600-800 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, more than twice as many as originally envisaged, the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported, quoting government sources.

Thus far, reports had said the Saudis wanted to purchase around 300 Leopard-2 tanks, Germany's main battle tank which is also produced under licence in Spain.

With up to 800 tanks, the deal would be worth 10 billion euros ($12.6 billion), and one of the biggest-ever for the German defence industry, Bild am Sonntag reported.

While there is opposition to the deal in the Chancellery and the Foreign and Defence ministries, there was support for it within the Economy Ministry, it said.

A deal for a first tranche of 300 tanks is ready for signing and the Saudis want to the whole deal wrapped up by July 20, when the festival of Ramadan begins, the newspaper said.

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