The Dutch Cabinet will soon announce major defence cutbacks, including job cuts and the scrapping of complete army units.

Dutch Defence Minister Hans Hillen had earlier announced the permanent budget cuts of €1bn a year.

According to the plan, the cuts include about 60 Leopard tanks, 17 Cougar helicopters, four of ten mine-sweepers and one-third of the 86 F-16 aircraft fleet will be divested.

About 12,300 jobs will be removed and around 6,000 soldiers will have to face forced redundancies.

The Apache helicopters and Bushmaster heavy armoured vehicles will replace and undertake the tasks of the Leopard tanks.

Netherlands Defence currently employs 69,000 people, including 48,300 military, according to NIS News Bulletin.