Poland might jointly develop a main battle tank to replace Italian C1 Ariete
Italy has issued a proposal for Poland and other countries to jointly work on a new generation MBT programme, Defence 24 reports. The Polish company PGZ already expressed its interest in creating a new main battle tank, not excluding a joint project with some international partners.
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C1 Ariete MBT of the Italian army (Picture source: Army Recognition)
Italy is considering the launch of a new main battle tank development project in collaboration with NATO allies. The new platform would replace the C1 Ariete MBTs. Poland is among the nations that received the proposal, Defence 24 reports. The Italian Ministry of Defence reached out to some of the EU nations, namely Poland and Spain, and proposed collaboration in a project pertaining to land platforms. Analysis of that proposal is currently in progress at the Polish Ministry of Defence. The proposal to start working on the development of a new generation Italian-Polish MBT was already mentioned in 2019 by Marco Lupo, President of Leonardo Poland.
To define the direction, and the division of work, PGZ’ partner selection needs to take place at the governmental level. The company is engaged in talks with a number of different potential partners in this area.
PGZ submitted its own proposal to the Polish MoD in 2019, within the scope of creating a Polish MBT, with the broadest involvement possible of the public and private Polish industry. The Polish MoD’s programme mentioned by PGZ is the Wilk MBT, listed as one of the priorities of the MoD’s Technical Modernization Plan. The new MBTs are required to replace the obsolete T-72 and PT-91 platforms. The Wilk programme that is still in the analytical phase can be regarded as a major industrial opportunity, as Poland would be in need of 500 or more MBTs to replace the platforms making use of Soviet-era technology.
It will be recalled that both Poland, as well as Italy, wanted to become a part of the futuristic Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) launched by Germany (leader) and France. So far, these efforts remain vain. Joining the MGCS programme at further stages could create less optimal conditions for participation.
South Korean company Hyundai Rotem already submitted a proposal to jointly develop the K2PL MBT with Poland, a new variant of the K2 platform operated by the South Korean army. The K2PL would meet the Polish requirements and use domestic, or Polonized components. At MSPO 2020 Defense exhibition in Poland, Hyundai Rotem unveiled a scale model of its K2PL. In January 2020, The Korea Times newspaper website had announced that Hyundai Rotem could sign a deal with the Polish government to develop and produce 800 KPL Black Panther main battle tanks.
The offer is supported by the Korean government, also within the scope of financing. The Korean proposal would involve broad cooperation, stepping beyond the defence sector too.
At MSPO 2020, Hyundai Rotem presented a scale model ofits K2PL Black Panther main battle tank (Picture source: Twitter account of Rafal Surdacki)