Germany will transfer 15 of its Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to Slovakia in exchange for Slovakia’s transfer of Soviet-era infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.
The contract for the transfer was signed on Tuesday, and represents the first official agreement negotiated as part of the German ‘Ringtausch’ concept, under which it plans to support NATO countries that have Soviet-era weapons in their inventories in donating them to Ukraine by providing more modern equipment in return.
Slovakia appears poised to become the first beneficiary of the program. The Czech Republic defense ministry said in May this year that it would sign a contract to receive Leopard MBTs from Germany after sending some of its own tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, but the official contract was never announced. Germany’s foreign affairs minister Annalena Baerbock said in late July this year that the contract with the Czech Republic was “on the right path.”
According to announcements from the defense ministries of Slovakia and Germany, Slovakia will send a total of 30 IFVs to Ukraine, while Germany will provide Slovakia with tanks as well as a munitions, training and logistics package.
The agreement that was signed in Bratislava will see the first German tanks delivered to Slovakia by the end of the year.
The type of vehicles that will be transferred to Ukraine have not been specified but Slovakia currently has Soviet-era BVP-1, BVP-2 and BVP M tracked combat vehicles. It is in the process of replacing them by BAE Systems-built CV90 IFVs and Patria-built AMVXP 8×8 wheeled IFVs.
Slovakia secured the agreement with Germany after delivering the first batch of a total of eight Zuzana 2 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine earlier this month.