BERLIN (AP) — Defense officials said Monday that Germany is readying decades-old armored personnel carriers for a key NATO unit after the modern vehicles that should have been deployed suffered a mass breakdown. Germany is scheduled to take the rotating lead of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF, on Jan. 1. The German army’s 37th Panzergrenadier Brigade had originally earmarked dozens of modern Puma APCs for the force, but during a recent military exercise all 18 Pumas deployed suffered technical failures. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the 42 Pumas earmarked for the NATO force will now be replaced with much older Marder vehicles, but insisted this wouldn’t affect the mission. She also ordered a halt to additional Puma purchases pending repairs.
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