(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia is seeking to buy 600 to 800 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, a German newspaper reported.
Bild am Sonntag news paper said that a deal for around 300 tanks is set to be firmed, which could secure the future of German tank-makers Krauss-Maffei Wegman and Rheinmetall, as they seek new markets due to the restructuring of the German army.
The deal came amid opposition from Germany's Chancellery and support from the Economy Ministry, the paper added.
Spanish firm General Dynamic/Santa Barbara would produce the tanks under license by the German firms, the newspaper said.
Last year, Germany denied reports that it had agreed to export 270 Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia. Exports of military equipment cannot be officially acknowledged as they are confidential and disclosure is punishable by a fine or jail.
Arms exports are a sensitive issue in Germany given its Nazi past as well as the role arms makers like Krupp played in feeding 19th and 20th century wars with exports to both sides of conflicts.
Germany has refrained from exporting heavy weapons to Gulf states in the past, given its close relationship with Israel and more recently because of the so-called Arab Spring.