BERLIN (Reuters) - The German army needs billions of euros worth of new radios, tanks and other equipment in the coming years, Lieutenant General Joerg Vollmer, the inspector general of the German land forces, told reporters on Thursday.

"The biggest issue we have is communication," Vollmer said, noting that starting in 2020 manufacturers will no longer be required to maintain spare parts for the existing radios and other communications equipment.

Vollmer said the new equipment was needed given huge increases in the amount of data being transmitted, including maps. Germany recently announced plans to increase military spending as part of an overall drive by NATO to shore up its defenses in the wake of Russia's intervention in Ukraine in 2014.

The army also needed to rebuild its ability to lay down mine barriers, and build bridges, Vollmer said. He cited a need for 31 of the LEGUAN bridge-laying tanks built by Krauss Maffei Wegmann, a privately-held German firm.

"A brigade that has tanks, but no LEGUAN bridge-layers is clearly at a disadvantage," Vollmer said.

Vollmer said detailed planning and a formal acquisition process would begin now that the defense ministry had approved the requirement for the new equipment. He gave no financial details, but said it would take many years to rebuild Germany's capabilities to the required level.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Toby Chopra)