Poland sends T-72 tanks and BWP-1 tracked armored IFVs to Ukraine

According to pictures published on the "Ukraine Weapons Tracker" Twitter account, April 13, 2022, it is now confirmed that Poland should provide to Ukraine 100 T-72 main battle tanks including T-72M1 and T-72M1R as well as BWP-1, a Polish version of the Soviet-made BMP-1.
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Polish T-72M1 main battle tanks on the way to Ukraine. (Picture source Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker)

A few days ago, it was announced that Poland intended to transfer 100 T-72 Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. In fact, recently, Poland has signed a contract with the United States to acquire 250 M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 to replace the old Soviet-made T-72 and Polish PT-91.

On April 4, 2022, Army Recognition reported that The Biden administration will work with allies to transfer Soviet-made tanks to bolster Ukrainian defenses in the country’s eastern Donbas region. Reports are indeed emerging that the U.S. will broker transfers of T-72 tanks from NATO countries’ Soviet-era stocks to Ukraine.

The T-72M1 is an upgraded and export variant of the Soviet-made T-72A featuring minor changes including an additional layer of 16 mm armor plate on the glacis plate and combination armor in the turret with pelletized filler agent.

The armament of the T-72M1 is similar to the T-72A including a 125 mm (2A46) smoothbore gun fitted with a light-alloy thermal sleeve and a bore evacuator. The 125 mm gun fires three main types of separate loading ammunition, APFSDS with a maximum range of 2,100 m, HEAT-FS with a maximum direct fire range of 4,000 m, and HE-FRAG(FS) with a maximum indirect fire range of 9,400 m. The second armament includes one 7.62 mm PKT machine gun mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and one 12.7 mm NSV machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola.

The T-72M1R is a Polish upgrade of the T-72M1 that includes modernization of the W-46-6 engine which develops 780hp (574 kW) and is fitted with a digital starter system. New power supply systems with buffer batteries are also installed, along with passive optoelectronics for the driver and the commander. The gunner’s station is enhanced with the III-gen. KLW-1 Asteria thermal imaging camera. The modifications also involve the installation of a digital intercom and external comms suite, integrated with the BMS solution. This refers to RADMOR’s radios and the FONET system.

The BWP-1 is a Polish-made BMP-1 produced under license in Poland. It has the same design and armament as the Soviet-made BMP-1 consisting of a one-man turret armed with one 73 mm Model 2A28 smoothbore, low-pressure, short-recoil gun which weighs 115 kg. This is fed from a 40-round magazine to the right rear of the gunner. The second armament includes one coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun and a missile launcher mounted over the main armament able to fire the Kolomna KBM 9K 11 Malyutka AT-3 Sagger wire-guided ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile).

The hull and the turret of the BWP-1 are made of all-welded steel which provides the crew with protection from the firing of small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The vehicle has a crew of three including a driver, commander and gunner. The troop compartment is at the rear with the eight infantrymen seated back-to-back, four down each side of the hull. They enter and leave by two doors in the rear of the hull which have integral fuel tanks and are hinged on the outside.

Poland sends T 72 tanks and BWP 1 tracked armored IFVs to Ukraine 925 002
Polish BWP-1 tracked armored IFV on the way to Ukraine. (Picture source Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker)