The first-ever combat firing of Leopard 2A4 tanks marks the culmination of the inaugural 8-week training course for members of the Trebišov Tank Battalion. During this course, under the guidance of German Armed Forces instructors, personnel are being retrained on this newly introduced technology. Slovakia received the Leopard 2A4 tanks as a gift from Germany, replacing 30 decommissioned infantry fighting vehicles (BVP-1) provided to Ukraine. Throughout the ongoing training at the Training Center Lest, the aim is to train tank crews in the theory of equipment maintenance and care, mastery of the weaponry systems of the Leopard 2A4 tank, and lastly, to acquire practical skills and gain experience from German tank crews.
“The ongoing exercises undoubtedly lay the necessary groundwork for the further professional growth of Trebišov tank crews. The Leopard tanks complement our tank battalion, the combat capability of the heavy mechanized brigade, and thus the defense capability of Slovakia,” stated Slovak Republic Minister of Defense, Martin Sklenár.
According to members of the 4th Tank Platoon of the Trebišov Tank Battalion, fulfilling the marksmanship tasks with the Leopard 2A4 tank was somewhat more demanding compared to the T-72 tank. The firing exercises took place during maneuvers, including reversing, and mainly involved moving targets. One of the significant advantages of the Leopard tanks is their fire control systems that ensure accurate firing, as well as providing an excellent situational awareness on the battlefield. The Armed Forces have already received three Leopard tanks, and the remaining twelve units will be delivered to the Slovak Armed Forces progressively by the end of the year. All tanks, whether already delivered or awaiting delivery in Slovakia, have undergone comprehensive repairs by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH before handover.
The property of Rheinmetall, the vehicles now being made available are overhauled Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks formerly in the inventories of various user states. 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.