Czech Government approves accession to the agreement on the joint acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks

Czech Government approves accession to the agreement on the joint acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks
Autor fotografie: KNDS, Public domain|Popisek: Leopard 2A7+
12 / 06 / 2024, 19:45

Today, on the proposal of Defence Minister Jana Černochová, the Government approved the List of Strategic Projects of the Czech Army and the accession to the Cooperative Procurement Agreement (CPA) for the joint procurement of Leopard 2A8 tanks.

This does not mean an agreement to the purchase itself, but it is a necessary intermediate step that will allow the negotiations to be completed. Subsequently, by the end of the year, a comprehensive paper on the terms of the purchase will be presented to the government for decision. "Tanks remain an essential part of the heavy brigade. They are the only ones that combine high firepower, agility and durability. The uniqueness of tank technology is confirmed by the experience of fighting in Ukraine. By purchasing new tanks, we are fulfilling not only our commitments to our allies, but especially to our own defence," said Defence Minister Jana Černochová.

The list of strategic projects was supplemented today by the acquisition of Leopard main battle tanks and medium transport aircraft. The list so far has included the purchase of F-35 aircraft and CV90 tracked infantry fighting vehicles. The obligation to submit strategic projects to the Government annually is imposed on the Ministry of Defence by the Defence Financing Act, which was approved last year. Strategic projects allow for the initiation of large contracts for which multi-year funding is necessary. Inclusion on the list does not mean that the Ministry of Defence commits to purchase the relevant equipment. The Government will decide on its possible acquisition and the conclusion of a contract in the future, based on the outcome of negotiations with the manufacturer or the government of the country concerned.

In total, the Czech Army could have up to 122 Leopard 2 tanks after 2030

In the case of the Leopard project, the Ministry of Defence is negotiating the purchase of Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks as well as the acquisition of the older 2A4 version. The Czech Republic is interested in purchasing 61 of the latest Leopard 2A8s in six different modifications (main battle tank, command tank, recovery vehicle, bridge tank, engineer tank, tank with driver training cab). The Czech Republic will have the option to purchase 16 more of these tanks; in total, the Czech Army may acquire up to 77 tanks.

Leopard 2A7+

At the same time, as the Ministry of Defence has previously announced, the Czech Republic can have up to 42 older Leopards in the 2A4 version and recovery tanks. Germany has already donated 14 of these tanks and one Büffel 3 recovery vehicle on a Leopard 2A4 chassis to the Czech Republic in return for its assistance to Ukraine, and is prepared to donate an equal amount of this equipment to the Czech Army. The relevant contracts should be concluded shortly. Another 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks can then be purchased by the Ministry of Defence from Germany. The terms are currently being negotiated. In total, the Czech army could have up to 122 Leopard tanks after 2030, which means a significant expansion of the tank army's capabilities.

The contracts will be concluded by the end of this year

All necessary contracts for the acquisition of Leopard tanks in both 2A8 and 2A4 versions will be concluded by the end of this year. The signing of the CPA will be followed by further negotiations on, for example, industrial cooperation, financing issues or a model for guarantee and after-sales service. Before the negotiations are finalised, it is premature to talk about the total price the MoD will pay for both the Leopards 2A8 and 2A4. In the case of the latest 2A8 version, the Czech army will receive the main battle tanks on the same terms as the German army. The estimated expenditure for 61 tanks is CZK 39.8 billion including VAT, and CZK 52.1 billion for 77 tanks. The pace of financing is still to be negotiated. The amount includes accessories, training, testing and more. Inflation and exchange rate reserves are also included, so the final price may be lower. The price for the Leopard 2A4 tanks will be in the order of billions of crowns.

Leopard 2A7+

The CPA sets out the terms of cooperation between the participating states and will be concluded by the Ministry of Defence in the coming weeks. By agreeing to join the arrangement, the Government has approved the commencement of negotiations and taking steps towards joining the framework agreement for the acquisition of the main battle tank. The CPA facilitates, expedites and cheapens the acquisition of tanks through a quantity discount. Savings will also be made by minimising differences between national versions. Another advantage for the Czech Republic will be that joining the framework agreement already negotiated by Germany will significantly reduce the administrative burden. The signing of the CPA will be followed by further negotiations on, for example, industrial cooperation, the issue of financing or a model for guarantee and after-sales service.

Embraer C-390 medium transport aircraft

The second project newly added to the list of strategic projects is the acquisition of two medium transport aircraft. The Czech Army has a long-term need to strengthen its ability to transport heavier and bulkier loads over longer distances, including to crisis areas. On the basis of the studies carried out, it has been assessed that the C-390 aircraft from Embraer are the most suitable for the army's requirements. Non-binding market consultations are still ongoing. We expect to receive a detailed offer by the end of the third quarter. In the case of the acquisition of two medium transport aircraft, the Army will gain the ability to transport material and personnel over medium and long distances. The C-390 can be used for all kinds of air drops of people, as well as for parachute drops of cargo in containers or on pallets. It is also capable of carrying heavier combat vehicles.

Embraer C-390

The price is currently being negotiated with the manufacturer. It should match the price at which other countries have bought the machines. The value of the contract will be influenced by other capabilities. One of them is the purchase of an aerial firefighting module, another is the provision of medical evacuation, in-flight refuelling or the ability to carry VIP passengers. The aircraft should also be equipped with a self-protection system for flights in crisis areas, as well as protection against anti-aircraft missiles and systems for detecting sources of radio-technical signals. As with other projects, ensuring the involvement of domestic industry in subcontracting and lifecycle support is key. This will ensure security of supply to support the activities of the Czech Armed Forces.

Author: Karel Čapek, Ministry of Defense

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