Ruslan Pukhov, head of the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Sputnik that Prague’s decision to purchase this type of military hardware appears to be a prudent one, as the Leopard is perhaps one of the best tanks in the world, and even the US M1A1 Abrams main battle tank uses the Rheinmetall 120 mm gun – the primary weapon of the Leopard 2.
"You know how a perfect world army would look like? US Air Force, French navy, German tanks and Russian soldiers," Pukhov remarked.
He pointed out that while the T-72 is an impressive war machine in its own right, it has already become outdated, which is why the Russian military is switching to the T-14 Armata.
"It would be a vehicle protected both from high-explosive munitions and from anti-tank weaponry. A tank’s active defense system can intercept one shot, a passive defense system can endure two shots, but nowadays a tank endures about 8-10 hits during battle," Pukhov said.
According to him, the new vehicle should be fitted with a powerful cannon like a tank, and at the same time pack sufficient firepower to keep enemy infantry armed with anti-tank weapons at bay.
He added that Russia does have the concept of a tank support fighting vehicle, which dates back to the Soviet military operation in Afghanistan, when the ZSU-23-4 Shilka anti-aircraft system proved to be extremely effective against mujahedeen infantry elements.
"It’s hard to tell how one could make a cross between Shilka and a battle tank. But whoever manages to accomplish this feat first would be able to seize the lion’s share of the global [weapons] market," Pukhov surmised.