Land Forces

Poland Procures Second-hand Abrams MBTs - More to Come in the Future

Photo. Damian Ratka/Defence24

Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has approved a contract for the delivery of 116 M1A1 FEP Abrams main battle tanks to Poland between 2023 and 2024, to accelerate the replacement of equipment aimed at filling in the gaps caused by the transfer of equipment to Ukraine.

The agreement has a value of USD 1.4 bn. (net). US military aid package included here is worth almost 200 million dollars. The agreement is to concern delivery of 116 M1A1 FEP Abrams main battle tanks (FEP standing for Firepower Enhancement Package, with that designation being used to refer to the upgraded Abrams main battle tanks used by the USMC). These main battle tanks would be modified to meet the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces. The delivery would also include 12 M88A2 Hercules ARVs, 8 M1074 Joint Assault Bridges, 6 M577 command vehicles, and 26 HMMWV NG SECM repair vehicles, along with a training and logistics package.

Poland received approval to procure M1A1 FEP main battle tanks back in December, and the process proceeded fairly swiftly. The whole package had a maximum quote attached of up to USD 3.75 bn. Apart from the main battle tanks, and the logistics support package, then-approved procurement also includes a large quantity of munitions - 250 thousand tank gun rounds, including 112 thousand DU sabot munitions. The ammunition deliveries would be divided into two stages, with separate contracts. First, existing sabot anti-tank, and HESH/HE munitions would be procured. Then, new generation M829A4 (sabot anti-tank) and XM1147 (programmable munitions) would be acquired. The latter ones would be brand new.

The delivery schedule assumes that vehicles for the first battalion are expected to be transferred this year - 58 examples. All vehicles would undergo a general overhaul, bringing them back to zero mileage. 20 are already being overhauled at the US Army Anniston Army Depot. In the future, mine-clearing vehicles are also going to be procured, together with the Abrams MBTs, ARVs, and bridges.

1st "Warszawska" Armored Brigade is going to become the first unit that would operate the M1A1 FEP main battle tanks, as well as the newer M1A2 SEPv3 vehicles - the delivery of the latter is scheduled to happen in 2025 and 2026. The 1st "Warszawska" Armored Brigade is a part of the 18th Mechanized Division. The training on the Abrams main battle tanks is already underway, at the Abrams Academy set up at the Poznan-based Land Forces Training Center. The training process is done in collaboration with the US Army. 28 M1A2 Abrams SEPv2 main battle tanks are used for training purposes - borrowed from the Americans.

Poland decided to procure the M1A1 FEP Abrams main battle tanks due to Warsaw's intention to rapidly replace the T-72 family main battle tanks transferred to Ukraine. Ultimately the Polish Army is to operate 366 Abrams main battle tanks - 116 second-hand ones, and 250 brand-new M1A2 SEPv2s. All would be used by the 18th Mechanized Division.