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Slovakia to transfer BVP-1 IFVs to Ukraine in exchange for Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks.

| 2022

Slovakia will support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian aggression with 30 BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles as part of the drawdown of equipment from its reserve inventories in exchange for receiving 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď and State Secretary Marian Majer announced after their meeting with German State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence Benedikt Zimmer in Bratislava on 23 August 2022.
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Czech army BVP-1 IFV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

State Secretary Majer and State Secretary Zimmer added their signatures to a Letter of Intent to officially confirm this swap deal. “This deal will make it possible for the Slovak Republic to hand 30 BVP-1s over to Ukraine in exchange for 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks, which Germanyʼs defence industry will restore to a fully operational condition. As part of the package, we will also get ammunition, spare parts and complex crew training. The infantry fighting vehicles we will transfer to Ukraine are not directly from the Armed Forces structures, but from the reserve inventories appropriated for use for mobilisation purposes,” Minister Naď said.

The Leopard 2A4s will aid Slovakia's efforts to stand up a full-fledged Tank Battalion in support of the SVK Army's Heavy Mechanised Brigade, consistent with the NATO Capability Targets. Therefore, these assets will significantly strengthen the warfighting capability of the Heavy Mechanised Brigade as well as the defence capability of Slovakia. This will also prepare the ground for new areas of cooperation to forge further links between Slovakia and Germany. “Already today our bilateral cooperation in a number of areas is excellent,” Mr. Naď said, delivering a personal message of gratitude to the German partners for deploying the DEU Patriot air defence capabilities and service personnel to Slovakia as part of the NATO Multinational Battlegroup.

German State Secretary Benedikt Zimmer appreciated the quality of SVK-DEU cooperation, saying: “This marks a very important day not only from the perspective of closer ties, which goes well over and above the issue of compensation for equipment. This cooperation is very good and I am pleased that with today's Letter of Intent we can genuinely say it will grow from strength to strength.” State Secretary Zimmer went on to thank Slovakia for its steadfast support for Ukraine since the very beginning of Ukraine's defence against Russia's aggression.

As State Secretary Majer clarified, talks with the German side on the ring swap of equipment included several alternatives, including both the tanks and the infantry fighting vehicles. “As a result, information that may not yet have been fully correct has resurfaced. Nevertheless, Slovakiaʼs principal position is not to weaken the defence capability of the Slovak Republic. Although we want to help Ukraine to the maximum extent possible, this must not be done at the expense of our own defence capability,” Mr Majer explained. He then expressed his appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Defence for understanding this position.


The BVP-1 (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) is a Soviet BMP-1 light combat tracked vehicle produced under license in Czechoslovakia. It is used as a complement to mechanized army units. The first test vehicles were produced in 1968. Compared to the Soviet original, several design changes were implemented within a short time. Serial production began in 1970. By 1989, 17,295 BVPs were produced, which were exported to the USSR, and then socialist and developing friendly countries. It 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.

Leopard 2A4 MBT

The Leopard 2 is a 3rd generation main battle tank originally developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon, and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 13 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia and Singapore.

The Leopard 2 was used in Kosovo with the German Army and has seen action in Afghanistan with the Dutch, Danish and Canadian contributions to the International Security Assistance Force, as well as seeing action in Syria with the Turkish Armed Forces.

There are two main development batches of the tank: the original models up to Leopard 2A4, which have vertically faced turret armour, and the improved batch, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armour together with other improvements. All models feature digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilised main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment (first vehicles used a low-light level TV system or LLLTV; thermal imaging was introduced later on). The tank has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain.


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