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Polish MoD Decides to Overhaul and “Upgrade” the T-72 Main Battle Tanks

PM Morawiecki at Bumar-Łabędy. In the background you can see the PT-91 Twardy MBT. Image Credit: Mirosław Mróz/Defence24
PM Morawiecki at Bumar-Łabędy. In the background you can see the PT-91 Twardy MBT. Image Credit: Mirosław Mróz/Defence24

Agreement concerning general overhaul and modification of the Polish military’s T-72 Main Battle Tanks has been signed at the BUMAR-ŁABĘDY S.A. facility.

The agreement concerning the overhaul and modification of the main battle tanks has been concluded by and between the PGZ S.A. consortium working together with the BUMAR-ŁABĘDY S.A. facility and the WZM S.A. plant and the 1st Regional Logistic Base in Wałcz, with the latter entity representing the Polish military. Conclusion of the agreement also has also been organized in coordination with Mariusz Błaszczak’s (the head of the Polish MoD) Mateusz Morawiecki’s (Polish PM) visit to the “Bumar Łabędy” facility. The officials were also talking to the management and the employees during their stay at the company.

Value of the contract is defined as PLN 1.75 billion and all of the work is to be carried out between 2019 and 2025. This is also when the tanks would be delivered to the military. The effort is expected to be undertaken by a consortium consisting of PGZ, ZM Bumar-Łabędy (expertise leader) and the Poznan-based WZM company. Furthermore, other companies of the PGZ Group would also be involved in the process. The programme’s participants also include the Radmor company that is a part of the WB Group. 

The agreement signed in Gliwice constitutes a final stage of the two-years long work undertaken with an intention of upgrading the Polish T-72 Main Battle Tank. Back in 2017 conceptual analysis began with regards to tank modernization, on the basis of recommendations issued within the Strategic Defence Review and its public version, the “Republic of Poland Defence Concept”.

Ultimately the Polish Ministry of Defence decided to modify the tanks, instead of modernizing them - as a result of cost analysis. Some of the expenditure will cover the process of recovering the sheer availability of the armoured platforms. One should remember that some of the Polish T-72s constituted the main equipment ow low readiness units, or they were even withdrawn. At the same time no modernization or upgrades have been planned with regards to those tanks at least since mid-2016.

The scope of works (overhaul, new optoelectronics, comms and navigation assets) is a kind of compromise between the intentions expressed by the military, the Polish Ministry of Defence and the budgetart constraints. Once the tanks recover full readiness within the scope of the current contract, should the ordering party decide to do so and should extra funds be available, it could be decided that extra upgrades should be implemented.