The Slovak armed forces will soon receive 15 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks as part of a swap to replace Bratislava’s own equipment given to Ukraine, Rheinmetall announced Tuesday.
According to a press release from German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, under the German government’s “Ringtausch” equipment exchange program, Rheinmetall will soon be supplying the Slovak Republic with main battle tanks and other military hardware. In turn, the Slovak military will be transferring military equipment to Ukraine.
The first vehicle is due to be shipped in December 2022, with delivery to be completed by the end of 2023.
The “Ringtausch” is a procedure developed by the German government in cooperation with Germany’s neighbours and NATO allies to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. Specifically, NATO member states are providing Ukraine with Soviet-era heavy equipment in exchange for readily available Western military systems.
Working in close cooperation with the German Ministry of Defence and the Slovak authorities and armed forces, Rheinmetall swiftly negotiated the necessary contracts. These were signed on 15th November 2022 in Brussles by Martin Sklenár, Defence Policy Director of the Slovak Ministry of Defence; Vice Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, National Armaments Director in the German Ministry of Defence; as well as Dr. Björn Bernhard, CEO of Rheinmetall’s Business Unit Tactical Vehicles and Eduardo Veen Martinez, Executive Vice President Rheinmetall Business Unit Tactical Vehicles.
Work on the vehicles has already begun. The property of Rheinmetall, the vehicles now being made available are overhauled Leopard 2A4 MBTs formerly in the inventories of various user states.