PT-91 Twardy MBT
Main Battle Tank - Poland
The PT-91 Main Battle Tank (MBT), also named Twardy (Hard), is a further development by the Zaklady Mechaniczne Bumar-Labedy SA of the Russian-made T-72M1 tank which has been produced under license in Poland for many years. The first prototype of the PT-91 was completed late in 1992 and underwent trials with the Polish Army during the same year. First PT-91 enters into service with the Polish army in 1995. In April 2003, a contract was signed between representatives of the Malaysian Government and Polish Defense Company BUMAR (Now Polish Defense Holding), for the delivery of 48 MBTs PT-91M, 6 armored recovery vehicles WZT-4, 5 armored bridge layer PMC-90 - LEGUAN, and 3 armored engineer vehicles MID-M, initiating active cooperation with the Malaysian defense industry and Malaysian Armed Forces. The first PT-91 for Malaysia has been manufactured in the winter of 2005 and passed hard tests in Polish ranges. During these tests, some representatives of the Malaysian army supervised the testing to validate the contract. In August 2005 after a few modifications, which is the results of analyses from the test, the tank was transported to Malaysia for the first public presentation of PT-91M which takes place on 31 August 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, during the big military parade on Malaysia Independence Day. Tank open, column of Malaysian Armour Corps, and was represented in colors of 11th Regiment, 4th Mechanized Brigade. The same tank which was presented in the parade passed very hard tests in extreme terrain and climate conditions from September until December 2005. The PT-91 is still in service in the Polish Army. The PT-91 was proposed to the Peruvian army to replace the old Russian-made T-55 tank but was not selected. On July 25, 2022, Krzysztof Płatek, the spokesman of the Polish Armament Agency announced during an interview that Poland sent local-made PT-91 Twardy Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. On January 27, 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced that Poland will deliver 30 PT-91 Twardy Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine.
PT-91 Twardy MBT variants:
- PT-91A: PT-91 motorized with PZL-Wola S-1000 1,000 hp engine with mechanic transmission and a number of other minor changes.
- PT-91Z Hardy: Modernized version with SAGEM Savan-15 fire control system.
- PT-91M: export variant for Malaysia with SAGEM Savan-15 fire control system, PZL-Wola S-1000R 1,000 hp powerpack with Renk/SESM ESM-350M automatic transmission bringing its top speed to 70 km/h, and a new communications system. The main armament consists of a "Konštrukta defence a.s." design 2A46MS 125 mm tank gun made by ZTS - Špeciál a.s., a 7.62 mm FN MAG coaxial machine gun and a 12.7 mm FN Browning M2 HB AA machine gun. This variant is also equipped with Sagem VIGY 15 gyro-stabilized panoramic sight optronics, a SIGMA 30 laser gyro inertial navigation system, EADS EPS72 turret stabilization system, a PCO SSP-1 Obra-3 laser-warning system, integrated with ZM Dezamet 902A 81 mm smoke grenade launchers, CBRN warning system Pimco CHERDES II, communication systems: Thales TRC9310-3 F@stnet, Thales TRC3630-3, Thales SOTAS, 3rd gen. ERAWA 2 Explosive Reactive Armour, and Type 570P Diehl Remscheid GmbH tank tracks.
- PT-91EX: Very similar to PT-91M, offered for export to other countries.
- PT-91P: Offer for the Peruvian army, equipped with the newest PCO Drawa-TG fire control system with a thermal sight and modern communication system (Radmor RRC9310 radio, WB Electronics Fonet-IP communication system and Teldat battlefield management system).
- PT-91M2: is a modernization project to increase the firepower, mobility and protection of PT-91 main battle tank in service with the Polish army. The goal is to extend the lifetime of the tank which will be used only by the reserve forces of the Polish armed forces in the next few years.
The PT-91 Twardy main battle tank is armed with the same 125-mm smoothbore gun 2A46 used in the T-72, fitted with an automatic reloading mechanism that allowed for removing the gun's loader as a crew member, and gave a rate of fire of 8 to 10 rounds per minute. Additional armament includes a 7.62-mm coaxial PKT and 12.7mm anti-aircraft NSVT machine guns. The PT-91 has a thermal smoke device generating smoke screens from fuel and 24 grenade launchers fitted with smoke or anti-personnel fragmentation grenades. These are operated in conjunction with the OBRA laser warning system. The PT-91 Twardy has a new gun stabilization system and a new fire control system.
|Design and protection|
The layout of the PT-91 Twardy main battle tank is very similar to the Russian-made T-72 with a driver at the front, a turret with a gunner and commander in the center, and the power pack at the rear. The PT-91 is fitted with the Polish-developed explosive reactive armor Type ERAWA-1 (with one layer of explosive inside) and ERAWA-2 (with two layers of explosive inside) to the hull and turret. The armor package provides protection against the firing of small arms of 7.62, 12.7 and 14.5 mm caliber as well as cannon fragments between 20 and 30 mm.
|The PT-91 Twardy main battle tank is powered by a Type S-12U four-stroke, multi-fuel, supercharged, water-cooled diesel developing 850 hp at 2,300 rpm coupled to a manual transmission with 7 forward and 1 reverse gears. The torsion bar suspension of PT-91 on each side consists of six road wheels with the idler at the front, a drive sprocket at the rear, and three return rollers supporting the inside of the track only. The upper part of the suspension is protected by steel armor plates with the forward part covered by ERAWA-1 explosive reactive armor blocks. The PT-91 can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum road range of 650 km. The PT-91 is able to negotiate a gradient of up to 60% and a side slope of 50%. The tank can climb 0.85 meters high vertical obstacles, and cross 2.8 meters wide trenches.|
|The PT-91 Twardy main battle tank is fitted with a new fire control system developed in Slovakia. It has an electronic information block showing the tank's technical condition. Four laser warning antennas are fitted around the turret which alerts the crew if it is being targeted by a laser range finder or designator. This system is known as the OBRA laser warning system and works in automatic and manual modes. The OBRA laser warning system was developed and produced by the Polish company PCO. The engine and crew compartment have been fitted with a more modern fire detection and suppression system. A snorkel is mounted to the right side of the turret which can be used to cross a river up to 5 m deep. Standard equipment of the PT-91 includes an NBC protection system and night vision.|
|One 125 mm, one PKT 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, one NSV 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun.||Steel armor and Polish-made ERA reactive armor ERAWA-1 and ERAWA-2.|
|Poland, Malaysia, Ukraine||45,300 kg|
|Poland||60 km/h road speed|
|Fire control system, NBC protection system, night vision equipment.||650 km|
|3||Length: 9.67 m; Width: 3.59 m; Height: 2.19 m|
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