Germany OKs buying howitzers to help replace arms rushed to Ukraine
BERLIN, March 29 (Reuters) - The German parliament on Wednesday approved defence ministry plans to buy up to 28 self-propelled howitzers to replace weapons rushed to Ukraine out of army stocks last year, lawmakers familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Heavy artillery-type weapons such as howitzers, long perceived as arms of the past by military experts, have made a huge comeback as Ukraine seeks to repel a Russian invasion, Europe's biggest conflict since World War Two.
The government in Berlin has supplied 14 howitzers to Kyiv and originally intended to ask parliament for their replacement this summer. Defence Minister Boris Pistorius brought the move forward after criticism that the backfilling of German military hardware was going far too slowly.
The German parliament's budget committee approved plans to procure at least 10 howitzers for some 180 million euros ($194.98 million) from German arms maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), and to acquire options for the purchase of another 18.
According to the budget draft seen by Reuters on Monday, the defence ministry intends to soon trigger options for the procurement of 12 more howitzers to replace all the weapons given to Ukraine and make up for spare parts supplied to Kyiv.
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzer is one of the most powerful artillery weapons in Bundeswehr (German military) inventories. It can hit targets at a distance of 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) with standard ammunition and at a distance of up to 100 kilometres with advanced types of ammunition.
($1 = 0.9232 euros)
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