Poland Inks M1A2 Abrams Tank Contract

Poland made official its M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 main battle tank (MBT) procurement to meet an urgent operational requirement with the signing of a roughly $4.75 billion deal on April 5.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress earlier on February 17 of the U.S. State Department’s approval of a government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) request by Poland for M1A2 Abrams System Enhancement Program version 3 (SEPv3) MBTs. The FMS proposal covers acquisition of 250 Abrams tanks, plus associated training and  equipment (counter-IED systems, machine guns, ordnance, spare parts, etc.), 26 M88A2 Hercules combat recovery vehicles (CRVs), and 17 M1110 joint assault bridges. Altogether the proposal comes with an estimated price tag of $6 billion.

The Polish government is funding a significant military modernization effort that calls for spending of PLN524 billion ($132 billion) from 2021 through 2035. Part of this effort includes the expansion of the Polish Army’s mechanized capabilities, an aspect of force modernization made more urgent by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

At the center of this mechanized expansion is the upgrade of Poland’s existing inventory of surplus Leopard 2A4 and 2A5 MBT variants retired from Germany’s Bundeswehr and acquired in separate batch purchases in 2001 and 2013. The Leopard fleet is being upgraded by a group of subsidiaries operated under the umbrella of local defense giant PGZ under a contract awarded in December 2015. Once completed, the upgrade program will bring the Leopard 2A4s up to the Leopard 2A7 (or so-called 2PL) standard.

The Polish Army operates the Leopard tanks as well as Cold War-legacy T-72s and the local T-72 variant, the PT-91 Twardy. The U.S.-built M1A2 Abrams SEPv3-configured MBTs will serve as a replacement for the T-72s and PT-91s.

Polish officials see the M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 as a worthy counter to Russia’s T-14 Armata tank, which is still in early-stage production and therefore has not been utilized by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Deliveries of the Polish Abrams MBTs are slated to begin this year, with 28 expected to be handed over.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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