Rheinmetall to deliver Leopard 2 tanks and Büffel armoured vehicle to the Czech Republic
Representatives of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic signed today a series of contracts with German partners for the delivery of Leopard tanks to the Czech Army. The subject is also an agreement on the training of Czech soldiers. Fourteen Leopard 2 A4 tanks and one BPz3 Büffel recovery vehicle were donated by the Czech Republic in return for Germany's military support to Ukraine. As part of the German Government's "Ringtausch" equipment exchange programme, Rheinmetall will soon deliver main battle tanks and other military equipment to the Czech Republic.
The donation of 15 Leopard tanks was agreed between Defence Minister Jana Černochová and her German counterpart Christine Lambrecht this May. In addition to the tanks (14 Leopard 2 A4 battle tanks and one Büffel recovery vehicle), the delivery also includes an initial package of spare parts, ammunition and three years of service support from the supplier, which includes training of Czech soldiers. The value of the donation is just under CZK 4 billion. The first vehicle is expected to be delivered in December 2022, with delivery of all tanks to be completed by the end of 2023 and the Bpz3 Büffel armoured recovery vehicle, which is mounted on an upgraded Leopard 2 chassis, to be delivered by mid-2024.
The "Ringtausch" is an approach that the German Government has developed in cooperation with neighbouring countries and NATO allies to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. Specifically, it means that NATO member states are providing Ukraine with Soviet-era heavy equipment in exchange for readily available Western military systems.
Rheinmetall, in close cooperation with the German Ministry of Defence and the Czech authorities and armed forces, quickly negotiated the necessary contracts. These were signed today, 11 October 2022, at the Ministry of Defence in Prague by Major General Ladislav Jung, Commander of the Czech Republic's Land Forces, Colonel Robert Bielený, Director of the Logistics Section of the Czech Republic's General Staff, Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, National Armaments Director at the German Ministry of Defence, and Dr. Björn Bernhard, General Manager of Rheinmetall's Tactical Vehicles Business Unit.
Work on the vehicles has already started. The vehicles now available are the property of Rheinmetall. They are upgraded Leopard 2A4 tanks that were previously in the inventories of various user states. The state-of-the-art ARV 3 Buffalo armoured recovery vehicle is mounted on an upgraded Leopard 2 chassis.
Next week also sees the start of the first course (of two in total) for drivers at the German Army's training centre in Münster, with priority given to those involved in driver training and instructors from the Vyškov Training Command - Military Academy. The second driver course will then take place in the first half of next year. The training will also be completed by the crews, who will start it after a sufficient number of vehicles have been delivered to the Přáslavice garrison under the guidance of the German Army's Mobile Training Team (MTT).
According to Col. Petr Milčický, Director of the Force Development Section of the Ministry of Defence, the tanks will remain in the unit's armament until they are replaced by new main battle tanks.