Tracked IFVs and tanks - after Hungary, Slovakia may also be faster in acquisitions of heavy equipment than the Czech Republic

Tracked IFVs and tanks - after Hungary, Slovakia may also be faster in acquisitions of heavy equipment than the Czech Republic
Author: Slovak Ministry of Defense|Caption: LYNX KF41 in Slovakia
29 / 03 / 2021, 10:00

Despite the government crisis, the Slovak Ministry of Defense is preparing an acquisition of modern tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Main Battle Tanks for its 1st Mechanized Brigade. Just like the the Czech Republic, the Slovak Army is fulfilling its commitment to the NATO allies. The first phase will be to find a replacement for the outdated BVP-1 and BVP-2 vehicles. In the second phase, almost fifty modern tanks are to replace the existing T-72M1 of the 1st brigade’s tank battalion.

"In the future, tracked armored vehicles should be the focus of the heavy mechanized brigade, the construction of which is one of the basic commitments to the Allies in improving our armed forces. We approach this, as well as other commitments, with full responsibility - our goal is to select and procure for the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic fully suitable, modern and reliable technology with the active participation of Slovak companies in this process," said the Slovak Minister of Defense Jaroslav Naď.

See also: The Defense Committee rejected the schedule for the purchase of IFV‘s: The contract should not be signed at the time of the election

We are talking about 164 combat vehicles in seven variants for approximately 40 billion crowns, which is an amount that corresponds relatively to the Czech project. It counts on 210 vehicles (also in seven variants: combat, command, reconnaissance, artillery reconnaissance, engineering, recovery and medical) for 52 billion. While the Czech purchase was prepared and discussed for years, the tender was formally launched in the spring of 2019, and after a number of postponements there is a real risk that it will be resolved by the new government after the autumn parliamentary elections only.

In the coming months, potential suppliers will present the required vehicles to the Slovak Ministry of Defense. The first was a static and dynamic demonstration of the LYNX KF 41 from the German company Rheinmetall, which offers the same IFV to the Army of the Czech Republic, but has already succeeded with it in Hungary (which will acquire 218 pieces, most of which are manufactured directly in Hungary), and offers the same vehicle to the Australian Armed Forces as well.

See also: Slovakia to buy Fighting Falcons

The acquisition of tracked IFVs is to be followed in 2022 by the acquisition of 49 modern tanks, with the first delivery in 2023. According to the Slovak Minister of Defense, the competition will last 3-5 months, which not only sounds like a record short time from the Czech perspective. Practically in parallel with the acquisition of tracked IFVs, Slovakia also plans to acquire wheeled IFVs. The previous project of the Vydra 8x8 vehicle (Slovak variant of the AMV XP vehicle from Patria, Finland) from 2018 was suspended by the government of Igor Matovič and is to be re-evaluated in terms of its parameters.

Like the Czech Republic, Slovakia did underfund its armed forces for long, and like other NATO nations, wants to achieve defense spending of 2% of GDP in 2024. This year, the Slovak Republic plans to spend 1.68 billion on defense, ie 1.76% of GDP. As early as 2018, it resolved the issue of supersonic fighters when it decided to purchase 14 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft to replace its MiG-29s.

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