TechCzech Republic to boost defense with new Leopard 2A8 tanks

Czech Republic to boost defense with new Leopard 2A8 tanks

Leopard 2A7HU - reference photo
Leopard 2A7HU - reference photo
Images source: © Licensor

9:11 AM EDT, June 12, 2024

The Czech government is preparing to order Leopard 2A8 tanks. The decision to purchase these European machines stems from the need to replace outdated Soviet-era equipment.

According to the Defense Blog portal, the Czech authorities are expected to approve the contract for the delivery of Leopard 2A8 tanks in the coming weeks. Defense Minister Jana Černochová explained that the transaction is part of broader efforts to enhance the Czech Republic's defensive capabilities and armored forces. The country's arsenal could be bolstered by 77 tanks currently being negotiated with Germany.

Estimates suggest that purchasing the Leopards will cost the Czechs a similar amount to what was paid for over 260 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles. This means that the authorities may pay approximately 2.7 billion USD. Černochová mentioned that the agreement should be signed before the summer government recess, which usually starts mid-July. However, the initial document will " express the Czech interest in joining the tender," with the final contract expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Let's recall that the Czechs received 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in recent years as a gesture of recognition for Prague's support for Ukraine. Berlin has also offered the Czech authorities the option to purchase additional Leopard 2A4 tanks. However, the negotiations are focused on acquiring the latest generation of these famous European machines – the 2A8 version. At the same time, Poland is opposed to the Czech choice, as it is expanding its arsenal based on American Abrams tanks and Korean K2 tanks.

Leopard 2A8 tanks for the Czech Republic

The tanks that the Czechs intend to purchase are the latest version of the German Leopard, designed based on the Leopard 2A7HU developed for Hungary. They have also attracted the interest of Norwegians, Lithuanians, Dutch, Swedes, and Italians – countries that have already placed orders with German Rheinmetall.

The popularity of the latest machines is not without reason – in developing the Leopard 2A8, the manufacturer ensured the presence of reinforced armor that protects the upper part of the turret and hull. This will enable the vehicle to better protect its crew during attacks from cluster munitions and popular 21st-century battlefield drones.

The Rafael Trophy system also supports excellent offensive capabilities, which protects against incoming anti-tank missiles aimed at the Leopard 2A8. The drive system, which generates power around 1,600 hp, has also been reinforced.

The latest Leopard's weight is estimated to be around 154,000 lbs. At the same time, the defensive capabilities of the 2A8 variant will be handled by a 120 mm smoothbore gun barrel with a length of 55 calibers. It will be paired with a modern fire-control system and a laser rangefinder.

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