Czech army finalizes military trials of Leopard 2A4 tank for official adoption

According to a statement released by the Czech Ministry of Defense on March 22, 2023, the Czech army has finalized a report on the military trials of the Leopard 2A4 MBT (Main Battle Tan), which was presented to the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Major General Karel Řehka. The tank was successful in all tested parameters and can be adopted for use by the Czech Army.
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The Czech army conducted military trials of Leopard 2A4 tanks, which will officially enter service with the Czech Armed Forces. (Picture source Czeh MoD)

The shortened military trials, which can be carried out on equipment already used in NATO, took place at the 73rd Tank Battalion Přáslavice and the Libavá military training area.

According to Colonel Ján Kerdík from the Development of Forces Section of the Ministry of Defense, the testing consisted of 16 partial trials, which, in addition to basic parameters, primarily verified special criteria specific to the Czech Army. "For example, the accuracy of shooting, terrain passability, the possibility of using recovery means introduced in our army, or the functionality of communication means were tested," Kerdík specified, adding that the tank successfully passed the shortened military trials.

The automatic fire extinguishing system is in the engine, and it will be added to the turret

A fire protection system in the turret area, which was not in the original tank, will be installed in cooperation with the supplier to meet the latest standards in fire protection, safety, and occupational health protection, according to Ján Kerdík. "Preparation for attaching the fire extinguishing system in the turret is underway, and the supplier is currently looking for the fastest and most efficient solution so that it can be installed in the Czech Republic as soon as possible," he confirmed.

The missing system will not affect the usability of the tanks, crew safety, or the introduction of the equipment. "This fact will not have an impact on the use of the vehicle for initial crew training, which is planned for this year, because the tank is equipped with an automatic fire extinguishing system in the engine compartment," he emphasized.

All tanks by the end of the year, training already underway

The Czech Republic received 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks and one Bpz3 Büffel recovery vehicle from Germany as a gift for military support to Ukraine. Older but fully functional machines were originally used by the Swiss and German armies. The first Leopard 2A4 was taken over by the army in December last year, and the remaining ones will be delivered according to the schedule by the end of 2023. The Bpz3 Büffel vehicle on an improved Leopard 2 chassis will be ready by mid-2024.

The delivery includes, besides the tanks, an initial package of spare parts, ammunition, and three years of service support from the supplier, which also includes training for Czech soldiers. The value of the gift is approximately 4 billion CZK. In October 2022, representatives of the Czech Ministry of Defense signed a series of contracts with German partners related to the delivery. These included a Memorandum of Understanding, an Implementation Agreement for Training, an Administrative Arrangement, and a Tank Delivery Agreement.

Both initial retraining courses for twice eight members of the Czech Army have already taken place at the German army training center in Munster. These were soldiers involved in preparing drivers and instructors from the Vyškov Training Command – Military Academy.

Following this, crew training will begin after the delivery of a sufficient number of vehicles to the Přáslavice garrison under the guidance of the so-called Mobile Training Team (MTT) of the German army. This will include tank operation training, with an emphasis on the shooting part and combat use of the Leopard 2A4 tank. At the same time, instructor preparation will take place, who will subsequently be used in the next course led by the MTT as instructors until they eventually take on the role.