Czechs in talks to secure up to 30 more Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany


  • World
  • Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: Leopard 2A4 tanks take part in a military training near Tata, Hungary, February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic is in talks with Germany to get 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks as a gift compensating Czech military support for Ukraine and to possibly buy 15 more from the German defence industry, the Czech Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Czechs had received 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany as a previous donation, and also plan to order dozens of the most modern 2A8 versions to be delivered in the coming years.

The ministry said the additional 15 tanks that would be bought would cost in the low hundreds of millions of euros, and would help improve the country's capabilities amid a switch from Soviet-era equipment that it has largely donated to Ukraine.

"If the current negotiations are successfully concluded, the Czech Republic will have 42 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and the recovery tanks on the same chassis," the ministry said in a statement.

"After 2030, the Czech Army may have over 100 Leopard tanks of two types in active service and reserve," it added.

Leopard tanks are made jointly by Germany's Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

The Czech government has been in talks to buy around 70 Leopard 2A8 tanks in a joint purchase from industry with the German government.

Apart from the already-donated 15 Leopard 2A4s, the Czech army still uses 30 modernised Soviet-era T-72M4CZ tanks and some unmodernised T-72s, but most of those have been donated to Ukraine.

The Czech Republic was the first country to send heavy equipment to Ukraine in 2022 and has so far provided 62 T-72 tanks, as well as 131 infantry fighting vehicles, 16 air defence systems and six helicopters from army reserves, Prime Minister Petr Fiala was quoted as saying on Wednesday by news agency CTK.

More equipment has been sent through private companies.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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