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Land Forces

Abrams Academy Launched in Poznan. Błaszczak: Delivery of 116 Main Battle Tanks Expected Next Year

Photo. J. Raubo

Head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, visiting the Land Forces Training Center range in Poznan, was observing training that the Polish soldiers have engaged in, involving the Abrams MBT. The training, carried out by the Americans as a part of the so-called Abrams Academy, would involve 150 troops in total by the end of 2022, including technicians, instructors, and crews who would then operate these tanks. US Army V Corps commander, General John S. Kolasheski also attended the event, praising both the Abrams MBTs, as well as the current allied relationship between Poland, and the US, along with the cooperation established within the NATO framework.

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As noted by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 MBTs procured by Poland match the specification of the equipment operated by the US Army. The main battle tanks in question have been fitted with state-of-the-art communications, positioning, and battle management systems. The Polish Abrams would become a part of the 18th Mechanized Division. Back in April Mariusz Błaszczak, Deputy PM and head of the Polish Ministry of Defence agreed on the procurement of 250 US-made M1A2 Abrams MBTs - the contract refers to the latest variant of the vehicle, along with support equipment, and a training package.

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Photo. Jacek Raubo
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At the same time, legacy Abrams MBTs are expected to be transferred to Poland, to fill the gaps that emerged as Poland decided to transfer some of its main battle tanks to Ukraine. The aforesaid package is to consist of 116 vehicles. The head of the Polish MoD emphasized deterrence measures, referring to the events unfolding in eastern Europe.

Photo. Jacek Raubo

"I would like to stress that last year when we announced the procurement of 250 Abrams MBTs to meet the requirements of the Polish Military, we were saying that the process aimed at preparing the military to take over those main battle tanks would proceed very quickly - and here we can see the results of the steps that we have taken. A course, training has begun, allowing for rapid preparation, in a short period, the Polish soldiers, and the Polish technicians, to work with the Abrams main battle tanks", Błaszczak said.

Latest Abrams MBTs Deployed to Poland by the United States

"Our goal is for those main battle tanks, when they are finally commissioned in the Polish Army, to be maintained by trained troops - and this will happen next year. (...) We also are eager to establish interoperability, namely through building interoperability with the US military. General Kolasheski is the commander of the US Army's V Corps. A forward element of that corps has been permanently deployed to Poland, and it is from here, that the US soldiers across the whole NATO eastern flank are receiving orders - from Poznań, Poland. It is very good news, as that cooperation between the Polish military, and the US military contributes to the defensive capabilities of the Republic of Poland. The fact that the V Corps of the US Army is permanently present, and the fact that the Polish and the US soldiers engage in joint training", the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence said.

Photo. Jacek Raubo

Błaszczak also thanked everyone involved in the training process that engages the Polish soldiers.

"Last year we decided that the Abrams MBTs would be introduced into the inventory of the Polish military. This year, training is underway. Next year, the first examples of the main battle tanks would be received, covered by the portion of agreement concerning the process of gap filling, regarding the gaps that appeared in our defence capabilities - the Polish soldiers and technicians would be prepared to take over their duty to maintain the Abrams MBTs immediately, and this would make Poland safer, and consequently, all of the NATO Eastern Flank states would be safer", the Deputy PM said.

Photo. Jacek Raubo

General John S. Kolasheski emphasized NATO's strength, as a defensive alliance, noting that the collective defense system works, which has been proven by NATO's reaction to the current crisis. Kolasheski also pointed to the effort made by the NATO allies, to prepare themselves for this scenario. He placed a major emphasis on the role that the V Corps plays when it comes to the command chain that gathers together 20 thousand US soldiers reinforcing the eastern flank, from its northern to southern limits.

Referring to the event itself, Kolasheski said that the establishment of the Abrams Academy shows that Poland is reinforcing its Armed Forces, thus meeting its alliance-related obligations. General Kolasheski also noted that the commissioning of the Abrams MBT in the Polish Army would entail a qualitative change, having an impact on the operational mindset. The American officer also showcased his rich experience related to the Abrams main battle tanks - gathered during his rich career in the armoured elements.

Photo. Jacek Raubo

Poland has procured 250 M1A2SEPv3 Abrams MBTs that would become a part of the 18th Mechanized Division brigades: 1st "Warszawska" Armoured Brigade, and 19th "Lubelska" Mechanized Brigade. The procurement has been made in April, at a price tag of USD 4.74 bn. The deal also includes support vehicles - bridges and ARVs - ammunition, spares, training, and a logistics support package. All of the MBTs covered under the said contract are to be delivered by 2026. The Polish Army is bound to receive 28 Abrams SEPv2 MBTs this year, to accelerate the training process.

Meanwhile, next year Poland would take delivery of an older variant (most probably M1A1SA), to fill in the gaps after some of the Polish MBTs have been transferred to Ukraine. That batch of Abrams MBTs is to ultimately undergo an upgrade programme. The tanks were procured to meet urgent operational requirements. The relevant FMS request was signed in July 2021. #PHOTO[ id: 1561286 ]

Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo
Photo. Jacek Raubo

However, the South Korean K2/K2PL MBTs procured within the framework of the Wilk programme, with that procurement also assuming the establishment of major industrial cooperation, would constitute the backbone of the Polish armoured component. In late July the Polish government signed a relevant procurement agreement with Hyundai Rotem, assuming that 180 K2 MBTs would be acquired and delivered between 2022 and 2025. As of 2026 a new K2PL variant would start to be delivered. The K2PL platform would be developed in collaboration with the Polish industry, and the manufacturing process would be taking place in Poland. 1,000 K2/K2PL MBTs are to be procured by Poland in total.

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