- Germany plans to send Ukraine 16 Biber bridge-layer tanks.
- The tanks deploy assault bridges to help troops cross streams, ditches and other obstacles on the battlefield.
- The Biber tanks are the latest to be added to Ukraine’s growing arsenal of Western weapons.
Germany plans to send Ukraine 16 Biber bridge-layer tanks to help its forces “overcome water or other obstacles in battle”, the ministry said in a statement Friday.
The first six systems are due to be delivered later this year, and 10 more systems will follow next year, Germany’s Federal Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht said.
The package also includes transport, repair, and training, along with the vehicles themselves.
The tanks carry and deploy assault bridges to help troops cross streams, ditches, and other obstacles on the battlefield, and can span a gap of 60 feet in a matter of minutes, according to Military Today.
The Biber tanks, based on a modified Leopard 1 main battle tank chassis, are the latest to be added to Ukraine’s growing arsenal of Western weapons.
Germany has also recently agreed to transfer other weapons to Ukraine, including 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, and has recently delivered several Mars II multiple rocket systems and PzH 2000 howitzers.
Until February of this year, Germany had a policy to not send weapons to war zones but made a historic exception following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite its pledges, Berlin has faced criticism for delays in sending the promised weapons.
Ukraine has launched a new counter-offensive in the south of the country, aiming to recapture the city of Kershon, which fell early in the Russian invasion. The port city is on a delta of the Black Sea and the Dnipro River.
The war for the control of the river system was hinted at last month when the US agreed to supply 18 patrol boats to help Ukraine protect its riverways as part of a $450 million security aid package.
The package included two 35-foot small-unit riverine craft, six 40-foot maritime combat craft, and ten 34-foot Dauntless Sea Ark patrol boats, the Department of Defense said on Thursday.
“These are largely to protect the riverways and to enable Ukraine to maintain its control of the riverways. They can also be used in close-in coastal areas,” a senior defense official said during a briefing at the Pentagon.