Czeck Republic sends T-72A MBTs tanks and BVP-1 IFVs tracked armored to Ukraine
Following the request from the U.S., the Czech Republic has sent T-72A main battle tanks and BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, Soviet-made BMP-1 produced under license in the Czech Republic, to Ukraine, according to pictures published on the Twitter account of OSINTDefender on April 5, 2022: Czech Television initially reported the shipment, showing footage on Twitter of a train loaded with five tanks and five IFVs. It said the shipment was a gift agreed upon with NATO allies, Reuters report.
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Czech BVP-1 IFVs and T-72A MBTs sent to Ukraine (Picture source: Twitter account of OSINTdefender)
This shipment has been confirmed by the head of the Czech lower house's European Affairs Committee Ondrej Benesik, who told Reuters he received the information from his Christian Democrat Party's expert on defense. The source, from the Czech defense community, also confirmed that the tanks and fighting vehicles had been sent but declined to give any further details, citing security concerns. Defence Minister Jana Cernochova told parliament she would not confirm or deny details of Czech aid to Ukraine.
A spokesperson for the Defence Ministry said the Czech Republic had sent military aid worth nearly 1 billion crowns ($45 million) to Ukraine since the beginning of the war on February 24 but declined to give any further details.
According to the Military Balance 2021, currently, the Czech Army has a total of 120 main battle tanks including 30 T-72M4CZ, 89 T-72 and 247 IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) armored vehicles including 120 BVP-2/BMP-2, 127 Pandur II 8x8 armored vehicles, 98 BVP-1/BMP-1 and 65 BVP-2/BMP-2 in store.
The T-72A is the second generation of Soviet-made main battle tank in the T-72 family. The first version of the T-72 entered production in 1970. It is a further development of the T-62 with some features of the T-64A (upgraded version of the basic T-64) and has been further developed as the T-90. The T-72A was accepted for service with the Soviet army in June 1979. The T-72 was the most common tank used by the Soviet Army from the 1970s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was also exported to other Warsaw Pact countries, as well as Finland, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia, as well as being copied elsewhere, both with and without licenses.
As published by Army Recognition on 8 April 2020, Ukraine had already imported a large batch of Czech-made BVP-1 (Bojove Vozidlo Pechoty 1, a licensed copy of the Soviet BMP-1 ground vehicle, which was produced in Czechoslovakia between 1970 and 1989) infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), according to the country’s state-run defense industrial conglomerate Ukroboronprom. The BVP-1 (it is referred to as BMP-1) IFV weighs 13 tons and is protected by 6-23 mm armor. The vehicle is powered by the UTD-20 diesel engine, producing a top road/off-road speed of 65/45 km/h, a top swimming speed of 7 km/h, and a range of 600 km. The IFV is armed with the 2A28 73 mm semi-automatic gun, optionally mounted 9M14M ATGM system, and Kalashnikov PKT 7.62 mm coaxial general-purpose machine gun.
Czech T-72A tanks sent to Ukraine (Picture source: Twitter account of OSINTdefender)