Land Forces

USA Transfers Millions of Dollars to Poland: Financing for the Gap-filler Abrams Procurement?

M1A1 Abrams during a US National Guard exercise, near Orzysz/Bemowo Piskie.
Photo. US Army

The US Embassy announced Poland would receive a military aid package in a form of Foreign Military Financing funds in the amount of USD 288.6 million. The funds above have already been approved by the US Congress. Even though no direct mention has been made, of the purpose of the extra funds, it is quite possible that the money would be allocated to the acquisition of 116 second-hand Abrams MBTs, expected to replace the Polish T-72s delivered to Ukraine.

The funds that have a value equivalent to more than PLN 1.4 bn., considering the current exchange rates, have been assigned to Poland by the US within the framework of the Foreign Military Financing scheme - an instrument for financing the development of allied defensive capabilities. It is a part of a package worth USD 2.2 bn., announced by Anthony Blinken, the US State Secretary. That package is aimed at supporting allies, and partners potentially facing the greatest risk of potential Russian aggression. The support is to be provided to 18 countries in total, including Ukraine, and other CEE region states.

For instance, the Czech Republic would receive 100 million dollars, within the framework of the FMF scheme. The US Embassy in Poland stressed that the support granted to Poland places it among the most significant recipients of FMF, apart from Ukraine. The support, the Embassy claimed, is aimed at reinforcing the Polish defence and deterrence capabilities, targeting the increased levels of the threat posed by Russia.

The Embassy's release does not directly specify the purpose of the funds granted to Poland. Normally, the Foreign Military Financing scheme is used to procure brand-new or second-hand military equipment from the US. That programme has been used to finance a package of upgrades and training associated with the delivery of the first lot of the C-130E Hercules aircraft to Poland.

It is plausible that some, or all, of the funds, would be spent in relation to the Polish acquisition of 116 M1A1 SA Abrams MBTs - these are to be transferred by the Americans to partially fill the gaps left behind by the T-72 MBTs transferred to Ukraine. A solution as such has been indirectly suggested by the Embassy, pointing out that Poland has provided Ukraine, facing the Russian invasion, with extraordinary support. The Funding in question would certainly accelerate the military procurement process aimed at the replacement of the equipment transferred from the Polish stockpile in support of the Ukrainian defensive effort - including main battle tanks. The Embassy is encouraging other states to provide the urgently required support to Ukraine, and also to engage in negotiation of defence contracts, to immediately launch manufacturing of equipment for Ukraine.

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

The plan to procure 116 M1A1 SA Abrams MBTs, to accelerate the process aimed at replacement of the Post-Soviet platforms, has been announced by the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, in July this year. We have procured 116 legacy Abrams main battle tanks. These main battle tanks come from the US Army stockpile. The first main battle tanks from that order would be received by the Polish Army as early as next year. They would constitute a gap filler, filling in the gaps emerging after equipment has been donated to Ukraine. These main battle tanks have been purchased with very preferential conditions. In essence, we are also paying for bringing them out of deep storage where they are now, and for the logistics support package, including spares, Błaszczak summarized.

As we were told by Div. General Maciej Jabłoński, the Land Forces Inspector, and the MoD's plenipotentiary for the acquisition of the Abrams MBTs, the procurement of 116 main battle tanks include a comprehensive support and maintenance package. It includes the Joint Assault Bridge bridge-laying vehicles, M88A2 Hercules ARVs, and the command vehicles as well. Alongside the 116 MBTs, we are also procuring a broad logistical package and simulators.

Let us recall: Poland has procured 250 of the latest M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams MBTs in a G2G setting back in April. The acquisition includes a broad package of support vehicles, munitions, logistics support package, and training - for USD 4.74 bn. The procurement is carried out in line with the urgent operational requirement (PPO) procedure. The preliminary assumption suggests that the deliveries would be taking place between 2025 and 2026. All Abrams MBTs would be assigned to the 18th Mechanized Division, while the K2/K2PL MBTs would first be commissioned in the 16th Mechanized Division, operating in northeastern Poland. Ukraine, meanwhile, received more than 230 T-72M/M1/M1R MBTs, along with a certain number of PT-91 Twardy vehicles.