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Slovakia offers its fleet of T-72M tanks to Ukraine in exchange for Leopard 2 MBTs.

| 2022

According to information published by the Polish Defense website “Defence 24" on May 7, 2022, during a press conference that was held at the Silacz air force base in Slovakia, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said that Slovakia is ready to donate 30 Soviet-made T-72M main battle tanks or BMP tracked armored IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) to Ukraine in exchange for German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
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Slovak army T-72M main battle tank. (Picture source website)

At the Slovak Silacz air force base, where German and Dutch soldiers are deployed with Patriot air defense missile defense systems, the Slovak Ministry of Defense Jaroslav Nad met with German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and the head of the Dutch Ministry of Defense Kajda Ollongren. During a press conference, he told journalists that Slovakia is ready to provide military aid to Ukraine with Soviet-made tracked armored infantry fighting vehicles or T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) which are part of the current military inventory of Slovak armed forces.

Citing information published by Slovak Medias, Slovakia is ready to donate its fleet of Soviet-made T-72 MBT in exchange for the German Leopard 2 tanks. Citing information from "Kyodo News" published on May 8, 2022, Slovakia will keep providing military support to Ukraine in its fight against Russia and could also respond positively to Ukraine's request for the delivery of aircraft MiG-29 fighter aircraft.

Slovakia is not the first country in Eastern Europe to offer its Soviet-made old tanks in exchange for European-designed vehicles, indeed, in April 2022, Army Recognition reported that Slovenia offered to provide M-84 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine and in exchange Germany could deliver Leopard Main Battle Tank (MBT) or Marder tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicles).

Since February 2022, Slovakia has already supplied tens of millions of euros in weapons to Ukraine including 486 air-defense missiles, anti-tank rockets, and 100 air defense weapons as well as a battery of S-300 air defense missile system.

Currently, the Slovak armed forces have a total of 30 Soviet-made T-72M and 256 tracked armored IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) including 148 Soviet-made BMP-1, 91 BMP-2, and 17 BVP-M.

The T-72M is an export version of the T-72A which is fitted with T-72A and has a different armor protection level, carries a different amount of ammunition, and has a different type of NBC system fitted. It can be identified from the T-72A because it has four evenly spaced ribs on the upper glacis plate.

The Slovak T-72M MBT keeps the same armament of the Soviet-made T-72A consisting of one 125 mm (2A46) smoothbore gun. The canon is loaded thanks to the use of an automatic loading system with 24 ready-use projectiles. The tank carries a total of 39 rounds. The additional rounds of ammunition are stowed in racks behind the turret basket and in indentations in the rear floor fuel cell and second forward right cell near the driver.

The Slovak T-72M is powered by a V-46-6 diesel engine developing 780 hp coupled to a hydraulically assisted transmission with 7 forward and 1 reverse gears. The tank can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 480 km.

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