Promised 14 German Leopard 2A4 tanks are now in the Czech Republic

The long-awaited Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks, a total of 14, have finally arrived in the Czech Republic from Germany. This symbolic gesture serves as a token of compensation for the military aid that the Czech has extended to Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia. The Czech Army’s press service proudly shared images of these combat vehicles on their social media platforms. 

Germany generously gifted fourteen Leopard 2A4 tanks and a Büffel, a remarkable repair and evacuation vehicle, to the Czech Republic as a sign of gratitude for their support to Ukraine. 

These deliveries form part of the Ringtausch circular exchange program. In this unique program, NATO member states swap their Soviet-built heavy equipment with Western counterparts to aid Ukraine. 

In May 2022, an agreement signified a pivotal moment as the Defense departments of both the Czech Republic and Germany concurred on the delivery of 14 free Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. This was to replace the older, Soviet-made T-72 tanks that the Czech Republic had previously sent to Ukraine. 

The armored vehicles, worth about 4 billion Czech crowns each, previously served in both Switzerland’s and Germany’s armies and were then purchased by the Rheinmetall company. 

Germany’s gracious provision includes a package of spare parts and ammunition as an initial offering. It also promises three years of essential service support from the supplier and training for the Czech military. These tanks also came equipped with a recovery vehicle. 

Promised 14 German Leopard 2A4 tanks are now in the Czech Republic
Photo credit: Twitter

By the end of 2022, the first tank underwent military trials in the Czech Republic, undergoing an exhaustive 16 tests. 

The testing process confirmed the tank’s accuracy during cannon firing, its cross-country capabilities, and the potential use of life-saving devices now integrated within the Czech army. Subsequently, in April, the second batch of Leopard 2A4s arrived in the Czech Republic. 

The Leopard 2A4 model has seen widespread usage among the Leopard 2 family. The improved version encompasses essential advancements such as an automated fire and explosion suppressant system, an all-digital fire control system for handling new ammunition types, and an advanced turret enclosing flat titanium/tungsten armor. 

Here are the first-ever Leopard 2A4 tanks with a factory-fitted ERA
Photo credit: Dzen.ru

Produced in eight runs from 1985 to 1992, all Leopard 2 models have been upgraded to the 2A4 standard with Germany operating 2,125 2A4s and the Netherlands an additional 445 tanks. The 2A4 was also manufactured in Switzerland as the Pz 87 “Leopard” with Swiss modifications. 

Post-2000, the aftermath of the Cold War left Germany and the Netherlands with surplus tanks. They sold these surplus tanks to NATO and other friendly nations worldwide, making the Leopard 2 one of the most common battle tanks globally. 

The history of the Leopard 2, a third-generation German main battle tank (MBT), dates back to the 1970s. Crafted by Krauss-Maffei, it replaced the Leopard 1 in the West German army by 1979. 

Spain sends retired Aspide SAMs Mach 4 and Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine
Photo: Wikipedia

Different versions of the Leopard 2 are in action with armed forces across 13 European and numerous non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia, and Singapore. Some countries have even licensed the Leopard 2’s design for local production. 

There are two Leopard 2 development tranches. The first encompasses tanks produced until the Leopard 2A4 standard, characterized by their vertical turret armor. The tanks produced from Leopard 2A5 onwards, the second tranche, feature angled, arrow-shaped turret appliqué armor and other enhancements. 

All Leopard 2 tanks boast of an impressive smoothbore 120 mm cannon by Rheinmetall. This is coupled with a digital fire control system, a laser rangefinder, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment, driven by an MTU Friedrichshafen V12 twin-turbo diesel engine. 

In the 1990s, the Leopard 2s from the German Army saw action during peacekeeping missions in Kosovo. The 2000s witnessed Dutch, Danish, and Canadian forces deploy their Leopard 2 tanks in the War in Afghanistan. 

More recently, in the 2010s, Turkish Leopard 2 tanks were utilized in Syria, and, in 2023, Ukrainian Leopard 2 tanks were deployed in the Russo-Ukrainian War.

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