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Poland agrees on the purchase of 116 US second-hand M1 Abrams main battle tanks.

| 2022

On Friday, July 15, 2022, the Polish defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced the purchase of 116 second-hand M1 Abrams main battle tanks from the United States to strengthen its armed forces following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces.
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U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, drive an M1A1 Abrams tank during the Combat Enhancement Training/Force Integration Training phase of Exercise Trident Juncture 18. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

Citing information from Polish defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland agreed on a contract for the acquisition of 116 second-hand main battle tanks M1 Abrams from the United States.

On April 5, 2022, Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak signed a contract to acquire 250 American-made M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) for the Polish Army. The contract will also include the delivery 26 M88A2 Hercules armored recovery vehicles, and 17 M1074 Joint Assault Bridges, plus ammunition, logistics, and training packages.

The American M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 MBTs will be delivered to the 18th Mechanised Division and will replace the old Soviet-made T-72M1 which are in service with the Polish army since the Cold War. Recently Poland has donated to Ukraine a batch of 240 T-72M1 and T-72M1R coming from its military inventory. The M1A2 SEP v3 tanks are scheduled to begin coming off American production lines in late 2024 and delivery to Poland will begin in early 2025.

In order to deal with the Russian threat, Poland must continue to maintain a strong armed force equipped with the latest generation of main battle tanks. With the donation of its old T-72 tanks and the delay in delivery of the American M1A2 SEP V3 tanks, Poland has decided to acquire second-hand tanks from the United States.

In 2020, it was announced that the U.S. Marine Corps was going to withdraw from active service all its combat tanks representing approximately 200 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. These tanks could be delivered to Poland under the purchase contract. The only problem is that these tanks are of the M1A1 model and do not have the same level of firepower and mobility as the SEP V3 version.

The Abrams M1A1 is a modernized version of the Abrams M1 that entered into service with the U.S. armed forces in 1991. A total of 4,796 M1A1 tanks were built for the US Army and 221 for the US Marines.

The main armament of the M1A1 Abrams consists of a 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, developed by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Germany. The second armament includes one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the right of the main armament and a similar weapon is available on the left side of the turret. The commander hatch is armed with a standard 12.7 mm (0.50) Browning M2 HB machine gun which can be elevated from -10 to +65° and traversed through 360°

The M1A1 Abrams is motorized with a Honeywell AGT 1500 gas turbine engine coupled to an Allison automatic transmission X-1100-3B with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can reach a maximum speed of approximately 68 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 426 km.

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