Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, together with Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, announced details yesterday of a contract for the procurement of 250 M1A2SEPv3 ABRAMS MBTs. According to the contract, the tanks are to be delivered from the end of 2022. They are earmarked to equip at least four tank battalions and to be deployed in the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade and the 19th Mechanised Brigade as part of the 18th Mechanised Division in the east of the country. Among other things, they are to form the counterweight to the modern Russian T-14 ARMATA in a possible first line of defence. Poland is only the second country after Australia to receive this version.
In addition to the MBTs, the package includes:
- support vehicles
- packages for training (including simulators)
- large stocks of ammunition
The government is providing the equivalent of US$6Bn for the entire procurement, which will be financed outside of the defence budget.
The M1A2SEPv3 version is the most modern ABRAMS, which has been entering service with the US Army since 2019. The most important innovation of the tank is the modernised fire control system in a new electronic system architecture as well as the power generation systems. The modular architecture provides growth potential for easy integration of additional systems. The 120 mm smoothbore gun can fire the new sub-calibre M829A4 ammunition and programmable XM1147 multi-purpose ammunition. Two second-generation thermal imaging cameras for the commander and gunner enable hunter-killer capabilities in all visibility conditions.
ABRAMS MBT Features
The 67-tonne tank is powered by an AGT-1500 gas turbine with a maximum power of 1,120 kW and reaches a top speed of 68 km/h. Depleted uranium elements, composite and cage armour and reactive armour, among others, are used for protection. It is not known whether the protection of the Polish fleet will be equivalent to that of the American tanks.
The ABRAMS MBTs will replace the T-72 and PT-91 tanks from the Soviet era. 447 LEOPARD 2 A4 and A5 MBTs acquired from Germany in 2002 and 2013 will reportedly remain in service. The US Government approved the purchase of 75 M1A2SEPv3 examples for Australia in April 2021, combined with other armoured vehicles. General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems, and Leonardo DRS are listed as the main suppliers.