Armed Forces

 Polish Trucks to Transport Abrams and Leopard MBTs. Agreement Signed

Image Credit: chor. R.Mniedło/
Image Credit: chor. R.Mniedło/

On 29th May an agreement was signed by and between the Treasury (Armament Inspectorate) and the Jelcz Sp. z o.o company. The agreement concerns delivery of main battle tank/tracked vehicle transporters with a payload capacity exceeding 63 tonnes, the Inspectorate announced. This is yet another order placed by the MoD, with involvement of the Polish company, in the recent days.

The order concerns delivery of 14 heavy tractor units and mating semi-trailers that could be used to transport tracked vehicles and MBTs, with a payload capacity of more than 63 tonnes. The deliveries would be taking place between 2020 and 2022 within the framework of the guaranteed portion of the order, with a pricetag of more than PLN 72 million.

The agreement also includes the right of an option covering delivery of 9 transporters and 3 additional tractors without the semi-trailers included. Should the right of option be exercised, the remuneration provided to the contractor would be increased on the basis of vehicle unit price defined for the year of the delivery. The expected value increase is defined as PLN 54 million gross in total. Logistic elements of the Polish military would become the users of the newly delivered equipment.

According to the Ministry, the vehicles would be used to transport MBTs and heavy tracked vehicles with total allowable weight of up to 70 tonnes in offroad conditions, during the peacetime and in conflict circumstances.

The tractors are to feature armoured cabins (STANAG 4569 Level II) and will be fitted with tactical radios and winches allowing for autonomous loading of vehicles weighing up to 70 tonnes, onto the semi-trailers. In practical terms the above would mean that they will be able to transport Leopard 2A5/A6/A7/PL, M1A2 Abrams or Challenger 2 MBTs.

Contrary to the general opinions, transporters as such may be very important, especially when Poland would be the recipient of NATO support, acting as the host nation. The vehicles in question make it possible to carry out long distance transport operations with regards to tanks and other equipment on the road. The US Army explicitly expresses its need to use more vehicles as such to travel freely around the European theatre, even though some HET M1070F tank transporter tractor units have been leased from the UK.

The latter platforms feature extra two axles in comparison with the standard M1070 vehicle, which allows them to haul heavy cargo around Europe. However, the right-hand drive is a major disadvantage on the European mainland. One of the vehicles as such was involved in an accident on state road no. 10, on 23rd February 2017. 

Image Credit: Armament Inaspectorate

NATO forces also face a problem related to insufficient number of tank transporter units. The area has been in disdain since the end of the Cold War. Thus, the capability in question remains critical from the point of view of the host nation who remains responsible for effective execution of the allied operations. There is one more question that remains unanswered: will the PESCO’s “Military Mobility” initiative involving Poland include cooperation within the scope of acquisition or operational use of semi-trucks?

Polish Military Places Its Bet on Jelcz

Meanwhile, Jelcz also signed a contract concerning high-payload high mobility trucks with a box-arrangement of the bodywork on 29th May. The deliveries are to take place between 2019 and 2022 and they would concern 114 Jelcz S662D.43 trucks, 14 guaranteed and 100 - optionally.

Logistical elements of the operational component of the Polish military would be the main user. The agreement value is defined as PLN 111.464 million gross, including 13.506 million zlotys required to cover the guaranteed portion and 97.96 million zlotys allocated to the right of an option.

Over the course of May contracts concerning 73 vehicles for the Wisła system were signed as well. Cargotec Poland company, meanwhile, has been tasked with delivery of cranes based on truck platforms.