Land Forces

Poland Signs for Abrams tanks for $4,7 bn

Photo. Maciej Szopa/

Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance concerning 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 MBTs. The agreement is worth around 4.75 bn. dollars and this is the net amount. The first 28 vehicles coming from the US Army stock would be handed off to the Polish military this year, making it possible for the training to commence. The deliveries are expected to be finalized by 2026.

The Agreement has been signed by the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak. It is being handled using the G2G FMS procedural framework. The Agreement covers the procurement of 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 MBTs, along with support vehicles, including the 26 M88A2 Hercules ARVs, and the 17 M1110 Joint Assault Bridge platforms. Alongside the MBTs, Poland is also to acquire logistics and training packages, simulators, and ammunition. The agreement value is defined as ca. USD 4.75 billion which translates into PLN 20.02 billion (net value, considering the current currency exchange rates). The maximum amount mentioned in the notification was defined as USD 6 bn.

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This year, 28 MBTs in SEPv2 variant would be transferred from the US Army stock, to begin the training process. The deliveries are expected to be finalized in 2026. The head of the Polish Ministry of Defence emphasized that the agreement was possible to be concluded, thanks to a resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers, and with support provided by the Deputy PM, Jarosław Kaczyński. This has been the first stage of the process in which the defence capabilities of the Polish Armed Forces would be reinforced. The second is the Act on Homeland Defence.

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Mark Brzeziński, US Ambassador to Poland, stated that Polish-US relations are stronger than ever. He noted that the conclusion of the agreement translates into the tightening of cooperation between the land forces of Poland and the USA. Brzeziński was satisfied with the fact that Poland, as a NATO member state, is seeking to reinforce its defence capabilities, also noting that NATO should defend every inch of the Polish territory.

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The agreement covers various types of ammunition, with options for new generation KEW-A4 and XM1147 projectiles, as the spokesman of Armament Agency, Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek, told The Polish Abrams MBTs would also feature CROWS-LP RCWS and CREW Duke counter-IED systems.

M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 is the latest variant of the MBT, currently operated by the US Army, and also by the US Army elements periodically deployed to Europe, including Poland. The SEPv3 MBTs feature a new electronic systems architecture, and a new power generation system. The latter is to extend the lifetime and provide relevant upgrade potential.

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The MBT also features new-generation armour, along with a gun that can shoot programmable rounds. The vehicle weighs around 67 tonnes. The latest variant of the Abrams MBT features new-generation communications and battle management suites.

The vehicle is powered by the Honeywell AGT-1500 gas turbine, with a power output of 1,500 HP. Abrams SEPv3 (similarly to the SEPv2 variant) also features a fire control system with separate II-gen thermal imaging cameras, heightening the levels of situational awareness. The armament comes in a form of a 120 mm smoothbore 44-caliber long main gun, adapted to shoot standard NATO tank ammunition, .50-cal. machine gun on a remote control weapons station, and a 7.62 mm machine gun, coupled with the main gun.

General Dynamics Land Systems is the main manufacturer of the Abrams MBT. Poland has signed a G2G agreement. That means that the individual elements of the procurement would be contracted by the Pentagon directly, with relevant contracts signed with the actual manufacturers. This procurement scheme is usually used in the case of any other similar agreements. Poland is the second country that decided to acquire Abrams SEPv3, following Australia.

The MBTs would be operated by the 18th Mechanized Division. The unit currently operates the Leopard 2A5/2PL MBTs (1st Armoured Brigade based in Wesoła), along with 2 T-72 MBT battalions, the latter are to be ultimately subordinated to the 19th Mechanized Brigade. The procurement is carried out in line with the urgent operational requirement (PPO) procedure. The relevant FMS request was submitted in July 2021. The State Department issued its approval in February this year, while consent issued by Congress followed in March. Wilk new generation MBT programme is to be pursued in parallel with the Abrams procurement, as per the Technical Modernization Plan. Wilk is a programme that is expected to see a major involvement on the part of the Polish defence industry.