This Wednesday the Czech Army is celebrating a premiere: it has received the first of the 15 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks delivered by Germany.
The reception for this first Leopard 2A4 was held in the town of Přáslavice, at the base of the 73rd Tank Battalion of the 7th Mechanized Brigade of the Czech Army, and was chaired by the Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic, Jana Černochová, and with the presence of the Secretary of State for Equipment of the German Ministry of Defence, Benedikt Zimmer, as well as representatives of the Czech, German and Austrian Armies. You can see here the video of the delivery published by the Czech Army this afternoon (the video is in Czech, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):
The Czech Army has published a series of photos of the ceremony, in which we can see the Leopard 2A4 painted in an olive green color, unlike the German main battle tanks, which wear the tricolor camouflage of NATO black, brown and green. The delivered vehicle sports the Czech tricolor cockades on the turret and chassis.
The delivery of this and the remaining 14 Leopard 2A4s had been promised by Germany as compensation for the T-72 tanks of Soviet origin donated by the Czech Republic to Ukraine, as military aid against the Russian invasion begun on February 24. Ukraine was looking for armored material of Soviet origin, as its Army was more familiar with it. The Czech Army has announced that one of those 15 Leopard 2s donated by Germany will be a recovery vehicle.
The Czech Army had 76 T-72 tanks of the T-72M4CZ (30 units) and T-72M1 (46) versions. According to Oryxspioenkop.com , 40 of these tanks would have been delivered to Ukraine in recent months, considerably depleting the fleet of armored vehicles of the Czech Army.
The Leopard 2A4 came on the market in the 1980s. Germany purchased 2,125 tanks of this variant, which have either been withdrawn from service or upgraded to newer versions. Most of the stored Leopard 2A4s were leased or sold to other countries, including Spain, Poland, Greece, Finland and Sweden. Today Spain has 53 Leopard 2A4s in storage, but the government of Pedro Sánchez has ruled out sending them to Ukraine, alleging that they are in poor condition. In 2016, the Czech Army had already taken an interest in the Spanish Leopard 2A4s in storage with the aim of replacing their old T-72s, but ultimately the idea did not prosper.
The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120mm Rheinmetall L/44 main gun, plus a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun, another 7.62mm machine gun next to the gunner's hatch, and 16 smoke grenade launchers mounted on both sides of the turret, for passive defense.
The Czech Army has published some photos of this first Leopard 2A4 in which its good condition can be appreciated, at least with regard to the driver's position, which we can see below these lines. Surely the tank has been reconditioned for delivery to the Czech Republic.
In addition to receiving these Leopard 2A4s, the Czech Republic has proposed the purchase of 50 Leopard 2A7+ (below these lines), the most recent and advanced version of this German main battle tank.
Furthermore, yesterday the Czech government has signed a non-binding memorandum with Sweden for the delivery of more than 200 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, Jana Černochová announced today.
Photos: Armády České Republiky.
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