Bundeswehr to boost air power with US attack helicopters

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said German troops stationed in Afghanistan will be provided with more than 50 US combat helicopters next month, he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Bundeswehr to boost air power with US attack helicopters
Photo: DPA

“As of June thanks to US help, well above 50 helicopters will be available, but under German command,” Guttenberg told the paper.

Bundeswehr troops in Afghanistan previously had only six to eight helicopters at their disposal.

Defence Minister Guttenberg requested help from the US military, Germany’s partner in the Afghanistan mission, in light of ongoing technical problems with the European attack helicopter “Tiger” – which has resulted in substantial delivery delays.

The issue of properly outfitting Bundeswehr troops for the mission in Afghanistan has been a hotly debated subject after three German soldiers were killed during a Taliban ambush in the Kunduz region of the country on April 2.

Guttenberg responded by announcing plans to provide the German mission in Afghanistan with 150 to 200 new vehicles in 2010.

He also recently promised to provide soldiers with two new PzH 2000 armed vehicles “as soon as possible” during a surprise visit with troops stationed at headquarters in northern Afghanistan.

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