Czech army to acquire Leopard 2A4 and 2A7 tanks after giving its T-72s to Ukraine


According to what Soňa Fialová published in ekonomickydenik-cz on May 16, a proposal to acquire German Leopard tanks may be coming to the Czech government this week in the framework of a donation procedure of its own T-72 tanks to Ukraine. The Minister of Defense Jana Černochová and her team managed to negotiate a variant in which the Czech Republic will receive from Germany a donation of 20 Leopard 2 A4 tanks and will buy 40 Leopard 2A7 tanks.
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T-72M4 CZ of the Czech army (Picture source: Army Recognition)


The speculation of some media that the Czech Republic should get old Leopard 1 tanks manufactured since the 1960s has not been confirmed in this way. The economic daily obtained this information from government circles, Soňa Fialová writes. The scheme of the proposal is as follows: the Czech Republic will receive about a third of the tanks free of charge as a gift; the other two-thirds will be bought. The gift should contain Leopard 2 A4 tanks. Although this variant is not the latest (Leopard 2A7), it is comparable or even surpasses the Czech modernized T-72M4 tanks which are now undergoing repairs at VOP CZ and, hence, are not combat-ready. According to the Military Balance 2021, the Cech army as got 30 T-72M4CZ in service, plus 89 T-72 in store. Thanks to the donation, the Czech Army will quickly acquire a functioning tank force.

This should be followed by 40 Leopard 2 A7s, the most modern version used by the Bundeswehr, which was also bought by the Hungarian and Danish armies. These tanks should be manufactured in cooperation with KMW, the original producer of the Leopard tank, and Czech defense industry companies, Soňa Fialová writes.

The Russian tank technology, mostly represented by different variants of the T-72 tank, suffers terrible losses, partly due to the concept of storing ammunition directly in a carrousel located on the turret floor. In the event of a hit by a missile or a shell penetrating the armor, this almost always leads to the destruction of the tank and crew. Typical of the war in Ukraine are photographs of turrets of Russian tanks that flew several meters away after the explosion of the ammunition.

The modernization of the Czech Army's tank army in the form of Leopard tanks is also an expression of a change in the strategic concept after the departure of Western armies from Afghanistan. It is a weapon used to protect the territory, not carry on expeditionary operations, Soňa Fialová comments.


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Czech Army T-72M4 main battle tank (Picture source Army Recognition
)


The T-72M4 is an improved variant of the Soviet-made T-72 that was developed in the Czech Republic. It entered into service with the Czech army between 2003 and 2005. The tank retains the original Russian 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun fitted with a fume extractor and thermal but a muzzle reference system has been installed.

The T-72M4 includes many new improvements compared to the original Soviet-made T-72 Main Battle Tank (MBT) in terms of mobility, firepower, and protection. To reduce target engagement times and improve the first-round-hit probability of the 125 mm smoothbore gun under day and night conditions, a new Italian Galileo Avionica Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System (TURMS) fire-control system has been installed.

The commander has a new fixed cupola on the forward part of which is mounted the stabilized panoramic sight with a new 12.7 mm NSV machine gun support on the right side. The turret has been fitted with a Polish PCO SSC-1 laser warning system while battlefield survivability has been further enhanced by the installation of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) over the frontal arc. A German Kidde Deugra fire detection and suppression system has also been fitted.

The T-72M4 is powered by a British Perkins Condor CV12-1000 TCA turbocharged diesel engine coupled to an Allison automatic transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. Due to its new powerpack and transmission, the T-72M4 has greater acceleration and improved cross-country speed and mobility.


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German army Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Army Recognition)


The Leopard 2A4 is a German-made main battle tank designed and manufactured by the Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the successor of the main battle tank Leopard 1. The version Leopard 2A4 constitutes the basis of today’s Leopard family. The production of the Leopard 2A4 started in 1985.

The Leopard 2A4 MBT is fitted with a three-man turret armed with a 120mm, L44 smoothbore gun operated with the Stabilized Control System. The fire control system enables the MBTs to maintain accuracy even while on the move. Further enhancements include the use of more lethal and versatile kinetic energy and multipurpose ammunition (for example advanced kinetic energy rounds and programmable fuze, multi-purpose rounds).

The leopard 2A4 is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine developing 1,500 hp. This tank has one of the most favorable power-to-weight ratios in its class. It can reach a top road speed of 72km/h and up to 60 km/h in cross-country terrain.


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German army Leopard 2A7 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Wikimedia)


The Leopard 2A7 is a modernized version of the Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. The main features of this new upgrade of the Leopard 2 tank include new armor, an energy system, a crew compartment cooling system, and a new weapon engagement system.

The main armament of the Leopard 2A7 is similar to the Leopard 2A6 that includes one L/55 120mm Rh 120 smoothbore gun, one MG3A1 7.62x51mm caliber coaxial machine gun, and a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun mounted on the loader hatch located on the left side of the roof turret. With the improved kinetic energy ammunition DM53, the L55 gun can fire to a range of 5,000 m. Of the 42 rounds of ammunition carried, 27 are stored to the left of the driver, 15 in the left side of the turret bustle and separated from the fighting compartment by an electrically driven door.

The design of the Leopard 2A7 is similar to the Leopard 2A6 variant with the driver seated at the front of the hull on the right side, the turret is in the center of the vehicle with the commander and gunner on the right, and the loader on the left. The hull has been modified to attach add-on armor elements. The standard armor can be fitted with additional modules to increase protection all around the tank against anti-armor weapons.

The Leopard 2A7 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled V12 twin-turbo diesel engine developing 1,479 hp. at 2,600 rpm coupled to a Renk HSWL 354 transmission with four forward and two reverse gears, with a torque converter and is completely automatic, with the driver selecting the range. It can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.


 

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