Slovakia Donates 15 BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles To Ukraine

The Slovak Minister of Defense announced on November 29, 2022, that Germany will deliver 15 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the Slovak Army in exchange for 15 BVP-1, Soviet-made BMP-1, tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) donated to Ukraine.

The Slovak Ministry of Defense of the Slovak Republic committed to the delivery of the Soviet-made BVP-1 tracked armored IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) by signing bilateral agreements with Germany. Following this agreement, Germany has approved the delivery of 15 Leopard 2A4 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) to strengthen the Slovak armed forces. The first tanks are expected to be delivered in December this year.

During the year 2023, Slovakia should receive 2 Leopard 2A4 tanks per month until Germany’s complete delivery of the 15 tanks promised. Thanks to these new tanks, the Slovak army will create a new heavy mechanized brigade that meets the NATO standard.

Slovakia is trying to modernize its armed forces and replace old Soviet-made equipment while contributing to international crisis management missions. A defense white paper in September 2016 set out security priorities and a plan to increase defense capabilities. In 2017, the government approved a new defense strategy, a military strategy, and a Long-Term Defence Development Plan.

Currently, the Slovak army has a total of 30 T-72M, an improved version of the Soviet-made T-72A which is a part of an armored brigade including 1 reconnaissance battalion, 1 tank battalion, 2 armored infantry battalions, 1 motorized infantry battalion, and 1 artillery battalion.

With the new Leopard 2A4 tanks, the Slovak army will strengthen its tank battalion by 50%. In order to respond to the requirements of the NATO alliance, Slovakia must have more main battle tanks. The number of T-72 tanks in the Slovak armed forces is insufficient and it does not even meet the minimum requirements of the NATO Alliance.

The soviet-made BVP-1 is the designation in the Slovak army of the Soviet-made BMP-1 which has been in service for several decades. It was adopted for service in 1966 by the Russian army.

As the BMP-1, the BVP-1 is armed with a 73 mm Model 2A28 smoothbore, low-pressure, short-recoil gun which weighs 115 kg. This is fed from a 40-round magazine to the right rear of the gunner. A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament. Mounted over the main armament is a launcher for a Kolomna KBM 9K 11 Malyutka AT-3 ‘Sagger’ wire-guided ATGW (Anti-tank Guided Weapon).

The Leopard 2A4 is a main battle tank that was designed and manufactured by the German Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. it entered into service with the German army in 1978. The tank is armed with a 120mm L44 smoothbore gun operated with a Stabilised Control System. The fire control system enables the MBTs to maintain accuracy even while on the move.

The Leopard 2A4 MBT hull and turret offer a high level of protection to provide effective protection against kinetic projectiles from tank guns, armored vehicle cannons, and anti-tank weapons.

The leopard 2A4 is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine developing 1,500hp. It has one of the most favorable power-to-weight-ratio in its class. The 55-ton tank can reach a maximum road speed of 72 km/ and up to 60 km/h in cross-country terrain conditions.

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