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Geopolitics

Polish-Produced Twardy MBTs in Russian Territory?

Ex-Polish PT-91 in Ukraine.
Photo. Defense of Ukraine/X

Russian Volunteer Corps, Freedom of Russia Legion, and Syberian Battalion entered the Kursk and Belgorod districts early in the morning yesterday. One of the recordings shows that at least one, ex-Polish PT-91 Twardy MBT was used in the attack.

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So far Poland transferred 30/60 examples of the PT-91 main battle tanks - they were received by the Ukrainian 22nd Mechanized Brigade responsible for defending the front in the Zaporozhye region. The Polish main battle tanks were fitted with Kontakt-1/Nozh ERA in Ukraine, offering extra protection against SC warheads for the crew compartment. So far the ex-Polish Twardy MBTs have been spotted near Zaporizhzhia, which means that some of them are also operated in other areas - it is also possible that another batch was transferred to Ukraine by Poland. The recording below only shows a single PT-91 main battle tank, but one could expect more of these to be involved in the operations undertaken within the Russian districts.

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The PT-91 is a Polish upgrade of the T-72M1, developed in the early 1990s, to refine the combat capabilities of those legacy tanks. The tank uses a 125 mm 2A46 main gun that remained unchanged, given the cost of potential replacement. The gun is coupled with a 7.62 mm PKT general-purpose machine gun. A 12.7 mm NSV heavy machine gun is installed on top of the turret. The tank received ERAWA ERA, to enhance the levels of protection offered against shaped charge warheads without precursor unit (and legacy tandem warheads, for ERAWA-2 ERA), or even some sabot rounds.

The MBT has been fitted with a Drawa fire control system as well. This greatly enhanced the accuracy. The 780 HP V-46 engine was replaced by an 850 HP S-12U unit. The Polish Armed Forces received 232 PT-91 Twardy main battle tanks. They are operated by a contingent deployed to Latvia, as a part of the NATO battalion battle group for instance. Since 2014 the Polish fleet of Twardy main battle tanks has been undergoing modernization of the thermal imaging systems, as the I-gen. solutions were being replaced by much more modern Polish KLW-1 Asteria devices. Ex-Polish PT-91 in Ukraine.

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Ex-Polish PT-91 in Ukraine.
Photo. Defense of Ukraine/X
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