May 9 (UPI) -- The German military is upgrading 104 Leopard 2 tanks that have been brought out of storage, government officials said Tuesday.
The program will be carried out by the manufacturer Krauss-Maffel Wegmann and is expected to cost $832.7 million.
"The geopolitical developments of the past years have emphasized to us the importance of tank technology for our defense capabilities," the German Defense Ministry told Defense News.
The contract includes delivery by KMW for 32 new chassis for the production of new Leopard 2 tanks, along with variants for bridging capabilities and other operations.
The deliveries are expected to begin in 2019 and run through 2023. It will bring the number of active German tanks to 328, a baseline set by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
The Leopard 2 tank is designed for heavy ground combat, an increasing concern over fears with Russian military assertiveness in recent years.
The Leopard 2 is an advanced battle tank mounting a 120 millimeter smoothbore gun and several machine guns. Variants have been produced since 1976, and have been widely exported.