Anti-tank Pandur vehicles would suit the Czech Army – it has currently no "tank destroyers"

Anti-tank Pandur vehicles would suit the Czech Army – it has currently no &quote;tank destroyers&quote;
Author:|Caption: Pandur II
18 / 02 / 2021, 10:00

According to the valid Concept of the Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic 2030, the mechanized troops should be "highly mobile with effective firepower, resistance and maneuver, able to effectively act against lightly and heavily armored targets day and night in the full spectrum of operations." At present, the main anti-tank weapons of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade are SPIKE guided missiles launched from Pandur II wheeled IFVs. For the 7th Mechanized Brigade, it is still ex-Soviet 9M111 Fagot or 9M113 Konkurs missiles launched from the BMP-2s. In many modern armies there are "tank destroyers", specific variants of combat vehicles designed to destroy heavy armored vehicles.

The Czechoslovak People's Army had such vehicles at its disposal. One of the examples being the OT 9P148 vehicle from the 1970s on the chassis of the widespread BDRM-2 / OT-65 two-axle light armored vehicle. It was equipped with a launcher for Fagot or Konkurs, with 15-20 missiles, and with which it is possible to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles at a distance of 70-4000 m, depending on the type of missile.

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At present, Czech Army no longer has any special anti-tank vehicle. However, such vehicles are common in the armament of armies of some of our allies. The US Armed Forces have various types of equipment, from light HMMWV armored vehicles with BGM-71 TOW missiles (and anti-tank equipment can be carried by its successor Oshkosh L-ATV) to anti-tank variant of the Stryker four-axle armored vehicle, the M1134 ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) armed with a launcher of the same type of missiles. Their purpose is to strengthen the capabilities of infantry and reconnaissance by an effective means of combating armored vehicles.

The French army relies almost exclusively on combat vehicles on wheeled platforms, and its standard two- and three-axle VAB (Véhicule de l'avant blindé) serves in several anti-tank variants as the VAB MILAN with the system of the same name, the VAB Mephisto with the HOT anti-tank system, or export variant VAB 6x6 UTM800 also with HOT system from the armaments of the armies of Qatar and Cyprus.

During the Cold War, the German Bundeswehr had several different types of tank destroyers, with either gun or missile armament. These were built on tracked chassis, and they are out of service for dozens of years now. However, they were replaced in a way bythe anti-tank variant of the air-transportable Wiesel "minitank", which in version 1 carries TOW missiles and is being replaced by the MELLS system (ie also Spike LR missiles deployed in our country). In addition, there is also an anti-tank variant of the wheeled armored vehicle Fennek (MRAT - Medium Range Anti Tank) with SPIKE missiles, which was ordered and used by the Dutch army.

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The Polish army still has an anti-tank variant of ex-Soviet BDRM-2 vehicles carrying 9P133 Maljutka and 9P148 Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles, currently still in service with the 14th Squadron. But within the Ottokar Brzoza project Poland is looking for a replacement. By the way, the project is named after the general of Czech origin Otakar Březina (1883-1968), an active participant in the Polish-Soviet war in 1920 and the resistance against the Germans within the Home Army during World War II. Several Polish and world manufacturers compete in the project and offer solutions on both wheeled and tracked chassis, on platforms already established in the Polish army. The visualization of the Brimestoen system from MBDA on the OT Rosomak (Patria) and BMP-1 chassis was published. Israeli Rafael offers SPIKE NLOS (Non-Line of Sight).

Which could be an inspiration for the Army of the Czech Republic. The Concept of the Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic 2025 says: "The combat capabilities of light motorized battalions will be strengthened by the ability to destroy armored targets to the level of mechanized battalions." In addition to SPIKE guided missiles from Pandurs and possibly new tracked IFVs, such a capability could be suitably complemented by a special anti-tank variant, ideally also using, like the German Wiesels and the Dutch Fenneks, the same system. And if we let the imagination run wild even more, then within the framework of the here and there mentioned possibility to transfer part of the tracked IFVs, or their specialized variants on wheeled chassis, for economical reasons, a similar anti-tank vehicle could find application in the 7th (heavy) Brigade too.

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If we consider the two guided missiles of the Pandur II vehicles, which will also be available to the newly acquired tracked IFVs, and the strength and capabilities of our single tank battalion, the L-159 light attack jets, then the only other means for highly effective combat with tanks and heavy  armored vehicles will be four Viper attack helicopters, which, however, will hardly ever be deployed together. In the medium or long term, the reintroduction of a special anti-tank vehicle into the armament of both mechanized brigades makes good sense, and using a platform that is already established in the Army, equipped with a weapon, which the Army also uses, it will not be a complicated project (just as there is already, for example, a mortar carrier variant of the Pandur).

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