Germany to buy Airbus civil helicopter and convert for combat, Business Insider reports
BERLIN, March 18 (Reuters) - Germany's Defence Ministry wants to buy 82 Airbus (AIR.PA) H-145M civilian helicopters and convert some of them into combat helicopters to replace its Tiger combat fleet, Business Insider reported, citing military internal documents.
Germany last year shifted its defence policy after Russia invaded Ukraine, committing 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to modernize the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces.
Berlin, which has been reluctant to buy into an upgrade of Airbus's Tiger attack helicopter due to operational problems, wants to buy the 82 aircraft for 3.05 billion euros ($3.3 billion) and arm 24 of them with anti-tank missiles, the German news outlet said.
The Defence Ministry was not immediately available for comment.
The H-145M helicopters are approved for military use but are not designed as combat aircraft and the Bundeswehr has concerns about the machine's combat suitability and crew protection, which the ministry has ignored so far, the report added.
The Bundeswehr sees the planned procurement "a purely political decision that ignores operational needs," Business Insider said, citing a letter from the German Armed Forces Technical Service for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTD 61) to the Ministry of Defence.
($1 = 0.9376 euros)
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