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Upping the Ante: German Defense Chief Seeks to Boost Military Budget

© AP Photo / John MacDougall/Pool PhotoGerman Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, left, inspects a German air force aircraft as she visits the German contingent at the Al Azraq air base in Jordan, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, left, inspects a German air force aircraft as she visits the German contingent at the Al Azraq air base in Jordan, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 - Sputnik International
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German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has warned that if the country's defense budget is not expanded, she will freeze at least one international armaments project that Berlin is currently considering.

The German newspaper Bild reported that Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had requested a 12 billion euro ($14.6 billion) increase to the country's military budget, which currently stands at 39 billion euros ($47.3 billion).

With German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz foreseeing a rise in defense spending of 5.5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) by 2021, the Defense Ministry slammed Scholz as "inadequate in view of the huge accumulated needs and required modernization, particularly in the medium term."

READ MORE: German Military Pilots Will Reportedly Use Civil Helicopters for Training

Bild cited Von der Leyen as saying that if the defense budget fails to get a hefty boost, she will scrap at least one international armaments project slated for 2019, including a planned submarine deal with Norway and the purchase of six C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Her remarks came after German Bundeswehr Association Lieutenant Colonel Andre Wustner said that Germany's defense budget should grow by 15 billion euros ($18.2 billion) by 2021 or the country might face "unforeseen consequences in the field of state security."

READ MORE: 'Merkel Responsible for Terrible Condition of Germany's Military' — Lawmaker

German army tank type Leopard stands at the parking position at the training area in Grafenwoehr, near Eschenbach, southern Germany. (File) - Sputnik International
German Army Lacks Combat Ready Tanks for NATO Ops – Reports
Earlier, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the Bundeswehr plans to allocate more than 450 million euros ($546 million) to the modernization of its armed forces in 2018 alone.

The move comes amid reports that the German army has been suffering equipment and staff shortages, something that is specifically related to its Tornado combat jets and Leopard 2 tanks which are in a poor and "outdated" state.

Right now, Germany has the world's ninth-highest defense budget, which, however, is still out of line with US President Donald Trump's ultimatum that NATO members should meet the defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

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