The Czech Republic confirmed it will be receiving 15 Leopard 2 A4 tanks from Germany after sending some of its own tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.
The Czech defense ministry said the agreement for the transfer was in place, while an official contract is being prepared and expected to be ready for signing this summer. At the same time, the two countries will start discussing the possibility of the purchase up to 50 2 A7 + tanks for the Czech Army in the coming years.
While the Czech Republic never detailed its donations to Ukraine, it is reported to have sent T-72 tanks, BMP-1 fighting vehicles, as well as Strela-10 air defense systems in support of Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion.
“Germany has long been our key economic partner. In the field of defense, however, this has not been the case for a long time and we want to change that, not only in the field of tank troops, but in bilateral cooperation in general. I believe that thanks to this, our army will be stronger and our country safer,” said Czech defense minister Jana Černochová.
The basis of this donation will be 15 Leopard 2 A4 tanks, 14 combat and one rescue variant. Spare parts and ammunition will also be part of the delivery provided by the German defense industry.
The first Leopard 2 A4 tank will be delivered no later than six months after the contract is signed. The others will follow shortly thereafter. The defense ministry added it expects that the donated tanks will be upgraded to version 2 A7 + in the future.
“Leopard tanks are armed by a number of NATO allies and our close neighbors, such as Hungary and Poland. This rearmament will also contribute to the creation of a heavy brigade in accordance with our alliance commitments,” the defense minister explained.
Germany’s donation of Leopard tanks to the Czech Republic is part of its ‘Ringtausch’ concept under which it plans to support NATO countries with Soviet-era weapons in their inventories in donating them to Ukraine. However, Germany notes it will not be replenishing allies’ arsenals with vehicles and systems in active duty. To preserve its readiness, it will only transfer systems currently undergoing refits.
In addition to supporting the hand over of weapons under the Ringtausch concept, Germany is also working on sending its weapon systems directly to Ukraine. These will include PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and Gepard anti-aircraft guns.