The Indonesian Army has decided to procure up to 100 refurbished Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBT) worth US$280 million from Germany and ruled out previous plan to buy similar tanks from the Netherlands, Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. (ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said on Monday.

“We chose Germany because we can have certainties in terms of time of procurement and volume to meet our needs,” Sjafrie told a press conference at his office. “We have stopped the ongoing processes with the Netherlands to let us focus on the procurement from Germany.”

The government would use foreign loans for the procurement, he added.

The Dutch government previously had issues with its parliament in the procurement plan, mainly considering alleged rampant human rights abuses in Indonesia.

The first 15 MBTs are expected to arrive in Indonesia in October. The remainders would gradually arrive until the middle of 2014, Sjafrie said.

The Indonesian Army said it needed to modernize its weapons systems with MBTs because it only had light tanks such as the British-made Scorpion and French-made AMX13, which weighed 8 and 14 tons respectively. The Leopard 2A6 MBT each weighs well over 60 tons. (nvn)