The Canadian Army has begun returning the heavily armoured Leopard 2 A6Ms tanks that were borrowed from Germany three years ago.

The tanks were deployed in 2007 to help defend Canadian troops against big and powerful roadside bombs in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Canadian Army head Lieutenant General Peter Devlin said fewer than half a dozen of the 20 German Army tanks are being rotated out of the battlefield after the combat mission ends next spring.

The tanks were, however, unsuitable for the harsh desert environment and will have to be refurbished, according to the Star.

Canada will borrow newer tanks from Germany and also purchase an additional 100 from the Dutch.