The Czech Republic has already sent some of its non-modernised tanks to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion started on February 24. Five T-72 tanks were sent in the most recent shipment, which came to light after photographs were posted on social media. The Czechs have also sent more heavy equipment to Ukraine, from army depots and private arms companies, including artillery, fighting vehicles, anti-aircraft equipment and multiple rocket launchers. The deliveries are the first known time that a foreign country has supplied tanks to Ukraine, whose president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has repeatedly appealed for western military support against the Russian onslaught.
The Czech Republic is in talks with Germany on the supply of tanks that would allow the Czechs to send more of their Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, Defence Minister Jana Cernochova said late on Wednesday. The Czech Republic may get Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, but probably not the most modern variant. The Czech military has 30 T-72M4CZ tanks, which are upgraded versions of the Russian workhorse T-72, and had an additional 89 T-72 tanks in storage at the start of the year. Czechoslovakia was an important part of the eastern bloc’s defence industry, giving it expertise that has latterly enabled it to play a role in providing equipment to Ukraine.
The T-72M4CZ had long been one of the best T-72 upgrades in the world but unlike the Polish PT-91, hasn’t been a commercial success. The only user of this tank is the Czech Army. Between 2003 and 2006, 30 tanks were produced. The main armament is a 125 mm gun 2A46M. In addition, it is equipped with 7.62 mm PKT machine gun which is coaxial with the cannon, and a 12.7 mm antiaircraft NSV machine gun, capable of attacking low-flying targets. It is also possible to mount a 7.62 mm type 95/98 machine gun on and to use both original ammunition and NATO ammunition. Maximum speed on the road is 61 km/h, and in terrain 44 km/h. This tank is comparable with third generation MBT.
The upgrade was a joint venture between Nimda, Finmeccanica – Selex Galileo of Italy and Vop Cz (VOP25). The upgrade consists of a new powerpack in the form of Perkins Condor CV 12, Allison XTG-411-6N automatic transmission and Selex Galileo TURMS/T Fire Control System. The navigation system was upgraded with NBV-97, which was developed by Letecké P?ístroje Praha SRO and a new communications suite has been added. For protection, a new ERA called DYNA (DYNamic Armour) developed in the Czech Republic was added along with full NBC protection and a fire detection and suppression system by German company Kidde Deugra.