Leopard frenzy: Czech Republic to buy 50 Leopard 2 main battle tanks

Amid the current ‘’Leopard frenzy’’ that is nearly submerging Europe, be it to supply the Ukrainian army or buy new fleets of main battle tanks, the Czech Republic is working on the possibility of purchasing the latest version of the Leopard 2, i.e. the Leopard 2A7+, as Army Recognition already reported on September 19, 2022.

As published by Army Recognition in August 2022, Germany will supply the Czech Republic with 14 Leopard 2A4 MBTs and one Büffel armored recovery vehicle from industrial stocks, to be operated by the 7th Mechanized Brigade based in Přáslavice, in the country’s eastern part. This agreement with the Czech Republic is the result of the Ringtauch (exchange system) for the supply of Czech army T-72 MBTs to Ukraine.

Reuters press agency on May 18, 2022, reported that the Czech Republic was in talks with Germany to acquire 50 Leopard 2A7+ tanks in the coming years. With the demonstration of the Leopard 2A7+ performed during the NATO Days in the Czech Republic (17-18 September 2022), KMW (Krauss Maffei Wegmann) wanted to strengthen its commercial position in thos regard.

The Leopard 2A7+ is the latest generation of a main battle tank in the Leopard 2 family which is now in service with Hungary, Denmark, and Qatar. It was first shown to the public during the Eurosatory 2010 defense exhibition in France, featuring the label “Developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann KMW – tested and qualified by German MoD (Ministry of Defense)”.

The main armament of the Leopard 2A7+ remains the 120mm L55/L44 smoothbore gun, which can fire all standard NATO ammunition as well as the new programmable 120mm HE-rounds. The roof of the turret is equipped with an FLW 200 remotely controlled weapon station armed with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The Leopard 2A7+ also incorporates the latest generation of sight and fire control systems which can be used to target mobile or static threats during day and night. The Leopard 2A7+ is powered by an MTU MB 873 diesel engine developing 1,500 hp. The tank can reach a maximum road speed of 72 km/h, with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.

Fitted with the Trophy APS (Active Protection System), the Leopard 2A7+ is one of the most protected main battle tanks in the world. In fact, the tank incorporates a modular protection kit, increased mobility, improved sustainability, enhanced recce-abilities, and even more precise deployment of its various weapons. Asymmetrical threats from terrorist groups, IEDs, or individuals have created a dangerous environment in the deployment theatres. The Trophy is an Active Protection System (APS) fully designed and developed by the Israeli company Rafael. It offers 360° azimuth protection and high-angle elevation coverage while maintaining user-defined safety zones for friendly troops on the ground. It protects a tank from threats ranging from rockets to ATGMs and High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds.

By getting second-hand Leopard 2A4s, the Czech Army will become ready for the acquisition of a more recent version of the Leopard 2, as suggested by Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová. Hence, in May 2022, she already said that the country could buy up to 50 Leopard 2A7+ tanks.

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