Abrams Tanks and a Great Number of Munitions for Poland
Defense Security Cooperation Agency has just published a document on the Polish FMS procurement regarding the M1A1FEP MBTs, and the support equipment, along with munitions and spares.
The State Department has approved a sale of 116 M1A1SA MBTs worth USD 3.75 bn. on 6th December. The amount may ultimately be lower. The deal also includes 12 M88A2 ARVs, 8 M1110 assault bridges, 6 M577A3 command vehicles, 25 M1152A1 HMMWV vehicles, and 26 M1279A1 JLTVs.
Apart from those vehicles, 116 M2A1 .50-cal. machine guns, 223 7.62 mm M240 machine guns, and 6 spare AGT1500 turboshaft engines would be found on the shopping list.
The procurement of 120x570 mm NATO munitions is especially impressive. Not only can they be used in 120 mm M256/L44 guns of the M1A1/M1A2 MBTs, but also the Rh120/L44 guns of the Leopard 2 platform, or WIA 120 CN08/L55 guns of the K2 tanks.
The following ammunition types have been procured:
- Training rounds:
- 30,928 M865 TPCSDS-T,
- 20,823 M1002 TPMP-T.
- Live rounds:
- 60,000 M829A4 APFSDS-T (armour-piercing, sabot),
- 2,000 M829A3 APFSDS-T (as above),
- 50,000 M829A2 APFSDS-T (as above),
- 10,000 M830A1 MPAT-T (multi-purpose),
- 60,000 M908 HE-OR-T (HE),
- 70,000 M1147 HE-AMP (new-generation programmable HE round).
What's surprising, Poland would become the second user, apart from the US, to have the M829 depleted uranium core rounds in its inventory. More importantly, this includes the modern M829A2, or M829A3 munitions, but also the latest M829A4 projectiles, in a total number of 112,000. The maximum value of the deal announced by DSCA probably primarily concerns the ammunition cost that can amount to several percent of the whole package.
Apart from the above products, a broad package of repair kits has been procured, including mobile workshops, spares, GPS systems, manuals, and other training aids, along with the manufacturer's support.
Let us recall: DSCA has approved the sale of 250 M1A2SEPv3 MBTs, 26 M88A2 ARVs, 17 M1110 assault bridges, 250 AN/VLQ-12 CREW 3 jamming systems, 276 M2 heavy machine guns, 500 M240 machine guns, and 15 spare AGT1500 turboshaft engines for Poland on 17th February 2022, with a maximum procurement amount defined as USD 6 bn. The final agreement was signed in July this year and had a value of USD 4.74 bn.
The following ammunition types have been procured as well, in maximum numbers as specified below:
- Training rounds:
- 9,168 M865 TPCSDS-T,
- 4,592 M1002 TPMP-T.
- Live rounds:
- Unspecified number of KEW-A1 APFSDS-T rounds,
- 13,920 M830A1 MPAT-T,
- 6,960 M1147 HE-AMP.
Summing it up, the Polish Armed Forces would have inventory as follows, at their disposal, by 2026:
- 116 M1A1SA MBTs,
- 250 M1A2SEPv3 MBTs,
- 38 M88A2 ARVs,
- 25 M1110 bridges.
Following the finalization of the deliveries, the 18th Mechanized Division would become one of the strongest elements of this size in Europe. Other procurement processes tied to other systems, including 155 mm artillery, and air/missile defence systems, are also relevant of course - not just for the 18th MD, but for the land forces as a whole.
Investments in R&D regarding the domestic 120x570 mm munitions are very important as well. The same applies to domestic procurement of those, to go alongside the foreign acquisitions, and to achieve a similar level of munitions-related know-how, and munitions performance.