(MSN) The Norwegian government will buy 54 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to gradually replace its existing equipment and strengthen its defense capabilities amid rising tensions in Eastern Europe, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced Friday.

He warned that Europe is in a situation unprecedented since World War II and sees the need to devote part of the defense budget to acquiring more tanks. Oslo is leaning towards the German Leopard 2A7, although the first units will not arrive until 2026, according to NRK.

In a first package, Norwegian authorities will buy 54 Leopards, but reserve the right to buy 18 more. The Norwegian parliament last year approved the modernization of the country’s tank arsenal, but the head of the Norwegian armed forces, Eirik Kristoffersen, initially advised against the purchase.

Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram, who also attended the announcement, explained that they took all opinions into account, but came to the conclusion that Norway needs more tanks, in line with the capabilities of other allied countries.

Norway currently has 36 units in service, and is waiting to see how many it can send to Ukraine. Oslo has confirmed that it will contribute armored vehicles to bolster the military capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but did not provide details.


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