The Czech Ministry of Defense reported on 22 March that trials on the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank were successful and that the tank was expected to enter service with the Czech Army shortly.
The first Leopard 2A4 was delivered to the Czech army’s 73rd Tank Battalion in December 2022, and the remaining ones will be delivered by the end of 2023. The tank underwent a shortened military trial at the Přáslavice and Libavá military training areas, where it was tested for its accuracy, mobility, compatibility, and communication capabilities. According to Colonel Ján Kerdík from the Development of Forces Section of the Ministry of Defense, the tank was successful in all tested parameters and can be adopted for use by the Czech army.
One of the features that will be added to the tank before its official adoption is a fire protection system in the turret area, which was not present in the original tank. Kerdík said that this system will be installed in cooperation with Rheinmetall to meet the latest standards in fire safety and occupational health protection. He also said that this system will not affect the usability of the tanks or crew safety during initial training.
The introduction of Leopard 2A4 tanks will enhance the Czech army’s combat capabilities and readiness for potential threats. The tank has a powerful 120 mm smoothbore gun that can fire various types of ammunition, including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. It also has a sophisticated fire control system that allows it to engage targets accurately at long ranges and under different weather conditions.
The tank also has a high level of protection against various threats, such as kinetic energy penetrators (KEP), shaped charges (SC), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), mines, rockets, artillery shells, and nuclear radiation. It has composite armour on its hull and turret that consists of steel plates reinforced with ceramic materials. It also has spall liners inside that reduce secondary damage from penetrating projectiles.
The tank also has high mobility thanks to its powerful diesel engine that provides it with a maximum speed of 68 km/h on roads and 40 km/h off-road. It also has an advanced suspension system that allows it to traverse rough terrain smoothly and comfortably. It also has an auxiliary power unit (APU) that enables it to operate its electrical systems without running its main engine.
The Czech army plans to use Leopard 2A4 tanks alongside Pandur II wheeled infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) as part of its mechanized units. The Pandur II is another modern vehicle that was acquired by the Czech army from Austria’s General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr). The vehicle can carry up to eight infantrymen and provide them with fire support using a remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) armed with a 30 mm cannon or a Spike anti-tank missile launcher.
The combination of Leopard 2A4 tanks and Pandur II IFVs will give the Czech army an edge over potential adversaries who may still rely on outdated Soviet-era equipment or lack sufficient armor capabilities altogether. The Czech army will also benefit from increased interoperability with other NATO allies who use similar equipment or compatible systems.
The acquisition of Leopard 2A4 tanks is part of a broader modernization effort by
the Czech Ministry of Defense to upgrade its armed forces with new equipment
and technologies. Other projects include procuring new helicopters, air-defense systems,
radars, drones, and communications systems.
Leopard 2A4 main battle tank
The German Leopard 2A4 main battle tank is an improved version of the Leopard 2, with better armor protection, fire control system and mobility. The Leopard 2A4 is one of the most widely used tanks in Europe and has been exported to several countries around the world.
The Leopard 2A4 has a crew of four: commander, gunner, loader and driver. It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon that can fire various types of ammunition, including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and high-explosive squash head (HESH). The tank also has two 7.62 mm machine guns for secondary armament.
The Leopard 2A4 has a composite armor made of steel and ceramic layers that provides protection against kinetic energy and shaped charge projectiles. The tank also has a spall liner to reduce the effects of internal explosions and a fire suppression system to prevent fires. The Leopard 2A4 can be fitted with additional armor modules for increased protection.
The Leopard 2A4 has a digital fire control system that allows the tank to engage targets accurately and quickly. The system consists of a laser rangefinder, a thermal imager, a ballistic computer and a stabilized sight for the gunner and commander. The tank also has a navigation system, a radio communication system and an intercom system for internal communication.
The Leopard 2A4 has a diesel engine that provides a power output of 1,500 horsepower. The tank has a torsion bar suspension with hydraulic dampers that gives it good cross-country mobility. The tank can reach a maximum speed of 72 km/h on roads and 45 km/h off-road. The tank can also ford water up to 1.2 meters deep without preparation and up to 4 meters deep with snorkel equipment.