Ground Warfare

Slovak Ground Forces to Receive 15 Leopard 2A4 Tanks for Giving Ukraine 30 BVP-1 IFVs

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Slovak Ground Forces to Receive 15 Leopard 2A4 Tanks for Giving Ukraine 30 BVP-1 IFVs

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Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Leopard 2A4 main battle tank
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Leopard 2A4 main battle tank

State secretaries of the Slovak and German Defence Ministries signed an agreement to bolster military cooperation between Slovak and German, according to which the former will receive fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks along with ammunition, spare parts and crew training from Germany in exchange for giving Ukraine its 30 Soviet-era BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles. The swap illustrates an ongoing effort by European nations to provide Soviet-designed hardware to the Ukrainian military to aid in its efforts to counter Russia’s invasion. In return, NATO partners of these nations are attempting to backfill capabilities reduced or stripped bare by such armaments donations.

Slovak Armed Forces intends to decommission their military equipment inherited following the breakup of former Czechoslovakia in 1993. Previously, Slovakia gifted a Russian-produced S-300 air-defense missile system, 155mm Zuzana 2 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), Grad multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRSs) to Ukraine. More recently, reports of a potential sale of 11 MiG-29 combat aircraft from the Slovak Air Force’s inventory to Ukraine have emerged. Ukrainian pilots already fly the MiG-29 and so there would be little additional training needed to put Slovakia’s jets to immediate use.

Ukraine Begins Receiving BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicle
Ukraine Begins Receiving BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicle (Photo by Ukroboronprom)

The Leopard 2 is a 3rd generation main battle tank originally developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon, and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 13 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia and Singapore. There are two main development batches of the tank: the original models up to Leopard 2A4, and the improved batch, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions.

The BMP-1 (Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty 1) is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. The BMP-1 was the first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) of the Soviet Union. The Soviet military leadership saw any future wars as being conducted with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. BMP-1s were produced under license by Czechoslovakia (BVP-1). 2,252 ordered in 1973 and delivered between 1973 and 1989 (most produced in Czechoslovakia while the rest was imported from the Soviet Union). 1,006 BVP-1 and BVP-1KS, 265 BPzV “Svatava” reconnaissance vehicles and 620 OT-90 APCs right before the breakup of Czechoslovakia, passed on to successor states.

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