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Slovakia takes delivery of fist German-made Leopard 2A4 tank MBT.

| 2022

On December 19, 2022, the Slovak Ministry of Defense received the first German-made Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank (MBT) from Germany during an official ceremony that was attended by the Slovak Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic Jaroslav Naď and the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany Christine Lambrecht.
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Slovakia takes delivery of the first German-made Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank on December 19, 2022. (Picture source Twitter account Marcel Wollscheid)

On November 29, 2022, the Slovak Minister of Defense announced that Germany will deliver 15 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the Slovak Army in exchange for 15 BVP-1, Soviet-made BMP-1, tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) donated to Ukraine.

In November 2002, Slovakia was formally invited to join the NATO alliance. Previously, the Slovak armed forces were equipped with old Soviet-made military equipment and combat vehicles, and in order to comply with NATO standards, Slovakia has launched a vast program of modernization of its army.

According to the military balance 2021, the major combat vehicles of the Slovak army consist mainly of Soviet-made equipment including T-72 Main Battle Tanks and BVP-1 IFV tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles. On December 12, 2022, it was announced that Slovakia signed a contract with Sweden to acquire 152 CV90 tracked armored IFVs to replace the old BVP-1 currently in service.

With the acquisition of the Leopard 1A4 and the CV90 IFVs, the Slovak army will be fully compliant with the NATO standard using European-made combat vehicles.

The Leopard 2 tank was developed in the mid-1980s by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegman. The 2A4 version is the first operational version in the Leopard 2 family. The first preproduction Leopard 2 MBT was delivered to the German Army late in 1978 for training. Krauss-Maffei and MaK delivered three preproduction Leopard 2 MBTs in early 1979. The first production Leopard 2 was handed over by Krauss-Maffei in October 1979 in Munich.

The design of the Leopard 2A4 is conventional for a modern main battle tank with the driver at the front of the hull, the turret in the middle with a commander, gunner and loader, and powerpack at the rear.

The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun which has been developed by Rheinmetall and fires two types of ammunition, APFSDS-T, and HEAT-MP-T. The APFSDS-T has an effective range of over 2,000 m and the HEAT-MP-T has a high degree of effectiveness against both soft and hard targets.

The hull of the Leopard 2A4 has spaced multilayer armor and is divided into three compartments: driver at the front, fighting in the center, and power pack at the rear. Some variants of the Leopard 2A4 are equipped with add-on armor to increase the protection of the crew against mines and improvised explosive devices.

The Leopard 2A4 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 diesel engine, which provides 1,103 kW of engine output. It can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km with a maximum cruising range of 550 km.

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