The German army is growing for the first time since the end of the Cold War. Germany's defense minister said the new tank battalion will help the country meet its NATO commitments.
The German army will be strengthened with a sixth tank battalion in response to rising security concerns in Europe, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on Thursday.
"With this, the German army will grow for the first time in decades," von der Leyen said at a military base near the western city of Münster.
The formation of the 363rd Tank Battalion will begin in October next year, with battalion staff and the first of four companies to be stationed at the Hardheim military base south of Frankfurt.
A second company will become active in October 2021, followed by the transfer of another two companies to Hardheim from bases in the states of Bavaria and Thuringia.
More than 100 Leopard 2 tanks are currently being upgraded, some of which will join the 363rd Panzer Battalion, von der Leyen said.
The formation of the 500 soldier-strong battalion comes as Germany increases its defense spending in response to security threats from Russia and pressure from the United States to meet NATO defense budget targets.