Poland Buys M1A2 Abrams Tanks To Replace PT-91 Tanks

The Polish government will acquire the M1A2 Abrams System Enhancement Program version 3 (SEPv3), the latest configuration of the US main battle tank (MBT), for four armoured battalions, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczynski announced at the headquarters of the 1st Armoured Brigade in Wesoła, close to Warsaw, on 14 July.

Poland’s Defence Ministry is reportedly preparing to buy about 250 M1 Abrams tanks from the United States, two months after it announced plans to buy 24 Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones, learned GDC citing Defense News.

The Polish Armed Forces are reportedly interested in acquiring up to 250 tanks in the M1A2 SEPv3 variant and a further dozen tracked vehicles for training under a deal estimated to be worth between 11 billion zloty ($2.9 billion) and 19 billion zloty ($5 billion).

The potential acquisition would significantly expand Poland’s modern tank capacities. In the latest additions to its tank fleet, in 2002, the country secured 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German military. In 2013, the Defence Ministry signed a deal to acquire a further 119 A4 and A5 tanks from Germany.

Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak said the Polish Army would acquire complex heavy armoured combat systems, including 250 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams MBTs, armoured recovery vehicles, command vehicles, mobile bridge systems, and unspecified medical evacuation vehicles. Poland is also acquiring logistics and training packages with simulators, as well as a ”large amount of ammunition”, including programmable munitions. The Ministry of National Defence (MND) expected the first batch of tanks to be delivered in 2022.

Błaszczak said the expected value of the contract is PLN23.3 billion ($6 billion). MND Armaments Inspectorate spokesperson Major Krzysztof Płatek told Global Defense Corp that less than PLN20 billion would be spent on combat, logistics, and training systems, with the remainder to be used to build the necessary infrastructure in Poland. Błaszczak emphasised that funding would be provided from outside the defence budget and would not affect the Polish Armed Forces’ current Technical Modernisation Plan.

No US representatives were at Wesoła on 14 July. Afterwards, the US embassy in Warsaw tweeted, ”Poland has chosen the best and the most advanced tank in the world.” Later the same day, Błaszczak tweeted, ”The letter of request for 250 tanks has been sent! The first tanks will be delivered next year.” There has not been an official notification yet from the US Defense Security and Cooperation Agency.

Poland has been readying to purchase a new tracked vehicle platform to replace the country’s outdated Soviet-designed T-72 and PT-91 tanks. In 2019, Warsaw declared interest in the European main battle tank project, an initiative spearheaded by a French-German tandem. But to date, these declarations have not been followed by any binding decision.

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