Germany buys Chinook helicopters in arms procurement drive

Germany plans to buy 60 Boeing Chinook transport helicopters as part of a massive procurement drive to upgrade its military, the country’s defense ministry said Wednesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced shortly after Russia invaded in February that Germany would commit 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to a special fund for its military and raise its defense spending above the minimum 2% of gross domestic product that NATO countries had committed to and on which Berlin has long lagged.

The governing coalition and the main opposition party on Sunday reached a deal to move ahead with the plan. Parliament hasn’t yet approved it, but the project is becoming more concrete. Officials acknowledge that the German military, the Bundeswehr, has for years suffered from neglect.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told parliament that the government wants to buy the Chinook helicopter, saying that it “is proven, it is the backbone of European air transport, and with this model we will strengthen our ability to cooperate in Europe.”

Her ministry said in a statement that the plan is to buy 60 Chinook CH-47F aircraft. It didn’t give financial details, but German news agency dpa reported that some 5 billion euros from the 100 billion-euro spending package are earmarked for the purchase.

“We now have a historic opportunity,” Lambrecht told lawmakers during a debate on Germany’s regular budget. “We can iron out the failures of the past and get the Bundeswehr completely back on its feet.”

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