A new obstacle delay Poland’s Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT) modernisation programme by circa two or three years. A December 24, 2019 amendment to the original 2015 modernisation agreement to the 2PL standard is at the heart of the delay. However, Poland will have 14 more modernised Leopard MBTs.
The 2019 amendment mandates that deliveries of all modernised Leopard 2PL MBTs should conclude is 2-3 years later – by July 31, 2023. The €132 million additional cost brings its total value to €743 million.
Initially, the 2015 modernisation contract is between the Armament Inspectorate – the Polish MoD’s representative – and the state-owned conglomerate Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) and called for the upgrade of 128 Leopard tanks. A 2018 contract amendment added 14 obsolete 2A4, increasing the number to 142 MBTs for modernisation.
Under the terms of the original agreement, delivery of the initial batch of 128 Leopard 2PLs should take place by the end of 2020; the final 14 vehicles arriving to the Polish Army the following year.
PGZ subsidiary ZM Bumar-Labedy leads its side of the contract and is responsible for finalisation of the programme. However, Rheinmetall Land Systems is responsible for developing a final design of the Leopard 2PL, deliver prototype variants and assist PGZ in transferring the manufacturing processes directly to Poland.
Tests of the Leopard 2PL prototype have yet to conclude due to a number of reasons, including the terms of their compliance with several dozen requirements included in the Technical Specification, according to Maj Krzysztof Platek, official spokesperson for the MOD’s Armament Inspectorate.