Czech Army is one step closer to Leopards 2A8. The MoD has signed the Cooperative Procurement Agreement

Czech Army is one step closer to Leopards 2A8. The MoD has signed the Cooperative Procurement Agreement
Autor fotografie: KNDS, Public domain|Popisek: Leopard 2A7+
25 / 06 / 2024, 10:00

On 24 June, the Ministry of Defence entered into a Cooperative Procurement Agreement (CPA) for the joint acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks. The Government approved the accession on 12 June.

The Ministry of Defence announced the signing of the agreement on Monday evening on the social network X. The document was signed by the chief director of the armaments section Lubor Koudelka in the presence of Minister Jana Černochová. The signature does not mean approval of the purchase, but it is a necessary intermediate step that will allow the negotiations to be completed. By the end of the year, the Government is to be presented with a comprehensive document on the terms of the purchase: "All necessary contracts for the acquisition of Leopard tanks in both 2A8 and 2A4 versions will be concluded by the end of this year. After the signing of the CPA, further negotiations will follow, for example on industrial cooperation, on the issue of financing or on a model for providing warranty and post-warranty service."

Industrial cooperation – an opportunity for the Czech economy

The industrial cooperation model will be a key topic. "It is a condition of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic that the industrial cooperation contract with the manufacturer of the tank, KNDS, which is being negotiated separately, is concluded no later than on the same day as the contract on accession to the framework agreement for the acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks. This will be concluded by the end of this year. The Ministry of Defence is negotiating the involvement of Czech companies in the development, production and life cycle support of Leopard 2A8 battle tanks on Czech territory," the MoD said in a Q&A article: the Leopard Main Battle Tank project. It is worth paying attention to the terminology: a Cooperative Procurement Agreement (CPA) was signed yesterday, with the Contract to follow if further negotiations are successful.

Up to 122 Leopard 2 tanks and a change in the tank force structure

The Czech Army is interested in 61–77 Leopard 2A8 tanks in six modifications (combat, command, engineer, bridge, recovery and driver training). In addition to these, it already operates 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks, is awaiting delivery of the Büffel recovery tank, and Germany has offered a further 15 tanks of this type as a gift in a "Ringtausch" exchange to compensate for Czech armaments provided to Ukraine, and 15 such tanks may be purchased by the Czech Republic on the same terms as the German Government. Along with the introduction of Leopard 2 tanks into the armament, the structure of the tank battalion will also be changed.

Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Řehka told MPs at a meeting of the Parliament's Defence Committee in March that the changes to the structure of the 73rd Tank Battalion to NATO standards (three companies of 14 vehicles and two command tanks, 44 in total) will place greater demands on personnel and will mean an increase of 200 soldiers in the battalion, which is already undermanned. He described the acquisition of 42 Leopard 2A4 tanks (and three recovery tanks), the retirement of all versions of T-72 tanks and the subsequent acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks as optimal in terms of the needs of the Czech Army in terms of meeting the alliance commitments. He also underlined that tanks are not only important for the so-called heavy brigade, but also for the fulfilment of the standards of the medium brigade.

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