WARSAW — The Czech Ministry of Defense plans to sell 134 T-72 main battle tanks currently used by the country’s military, reported local newspaper Hospodarske noviny.
The tracked vehicles are most likely to be exported to an African country, according to the Czech newspaper. The sale will be handled by a private company.
“The tanks are still operational, and they can be deployed in case of war,” said Jan Pejsek, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. In the past, the Czech Republic had sold many of its T-72s to Algeria, the spokesman said. Pejsek said the Czech Army has been gradually shifting its focus away from tanks in favor of lighter military vehicles with higher mobility.
In addition to the T-72s, the Czech land forces have an additional 30 units of the T-72M4 CZ modernized version of the tracked vehicle. The tanks were overhauled by local defense manufacturer VOP from 2001 to 2006. The amount of the contract was 4 billion Czech korunas ($194 million).
The T-72M4 CZ weighs 48 tons and can carry a crew of three. Its 736-kilowatt engine from the U.K.’s Perkins Engines produces a maximum speed of 38 mph. The tank is fitted with a 125mm gun, a 7.62mm machine gun and a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun.
The Soviet-designed T-72 has been manufactured since 1971, and used by the Czech Army since 1978. In 1993, the newly established Czech land forces had about 1,600 such tanks.