Armed Forces

Poland Starts Training of Ukrainian Leopard 2 Tank Crews

A Leopard 2 MBT during training
Photo. Maciej Nędzyński/CO MON

Andrzej Duda, President of Poland and Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the MoD, visited a training center in Świętoszów, where training of Ukrainian Leopard 2 tank crews is taking place.

Świętoszów is home to a Polish Army "Leopard" training center, belonging to 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade, subordinated to 11st Lubuska Armored Cavalry Division. Te division is taking lead role in training Leopard 2A4 tank crews in Poland. Polish instructors are supported by Canadian Army troops.

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Poland is one of "framework" nations of the multinational effort to provide Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine, with Germany being the second nation. Poland is responsible for arranging a battalion of Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks, while Germany is responsible for arranging a battalion of Leopard 2A6 MBTs.

During the visit, Polish officials including MoD head Mariusz Błaszczak have said that several countries have declared donations their Leopard 2A4 tanks to the battalion or talks in this subject are ongoing. In particular, Canada has already delivered four tanks and Norway has pledged several more (earlier reports said that donation of up to 8 Leopard 2A4NO is possible). Poland is also in talks with Spain, which is planning to provide some Leopard 2A4 tanks.

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These donations should allow to stand up one battalion, which in Ukrainian force structure should have at least 31 Main Battle Tanks, with Poland being the largest donor with 14 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks. As shown on photo below, training in Świętoszów concerns not only operation but also maintenance of Leopard 2A4 MBT.

Photo. Maciej Nędzyński/CO MON

Further donations of Leopard 2A4 tanks may require industry involvement, i.e. through overhauls of tanks that are in storage (approx. 20 in Germany and up to 50 in Spain). Regarding Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tanks, Germany has declared 14 of those and it is not fully clear which countries will join the initiative, though Portugal spoke of providing several of their 37 MBTs. For context, Poland currently has 105 Leopard 2A5, approx. 100 Leopard 2A4 and 45 Leopard 2PL tanks, with Leopard 2PL being Leopard 2A4 upgraded to the 2PL standard in cooperation between the Polish industry (PGZ-ZM Bumar Labedy consortium and others) and Rheinmetall. Eventually all Leopard 2A4 that are to remain in the Polish Army inventory shall be upgraded to Leopard 2PL version. The deliveries of Leopard 2PL commenced in 2020 and shall last until 2027.