Buy from the Pros: Poland Adds More German Tanks
Germany is almost done selling off one of the world’s most impressive tank fleets, earning itself a solid market around the world in the process, and choking sales of competitive designs. In November 2013, Poland announced that it would buy a 2nd batch of Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, along with assorted other equipment. As usual, the package price was incredibly cheap: just EUR 180 million for 119 more tanks, plus range training fittings, machine guns, radios; and assorted armored tractors, cars, and trucks. Poland’s next question is what to do with the new gear…
Poland’s original set of 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks were bought and transferred in the mid-1980s. They need a full overhaul, and modernization would be an excellent idea. The new Leopards include another 14 2A4s, plus 105 of the more advanced Leopard 2A5s. This will form the high-end core of Poland’s armored brigades, with capabilities and survivability far ahead of its T-72 and PT-91 Twardy (locally designed upgrade beyond T-72M1) tanks.
The Polish Army needs commonality within its Leopard fleet at some point. Meanwhile, Polish industry is unhappy because the new acquisitions will replace the mothballed T-72 fleet with a German design, rather than having the MON fund a new Polish design by 2016. The logical solution is to involve Polish industry in a common upgrade effort that will begin by bringing the existing fleet to a more advanced standard, then follow by upgrading the newer Leopard 2A5s to create a common Polish standard.
Rumors have Poland looking for a final configuration that’s similar to Canada’s new Leopard 2A6Ms. That would reshape and strengthen the armor structure to 2A5 levels and beyond, upgrade the sights and communications, beef up the internal climate control to handle hot environments like Afghanistan, add extra mine blast protection underneath, and provide points to fit engineering utilities like dozer blades and mine clearance rollers.
The tender for overhaul and modernization of Poland’s current tank fleet was announced in October 2013, and has a Dec 10/13 deadline.
- The Armor Site – Kampfpanzer Leopard 2. The best public information anywhere, all variants.
- Army Technology – PT-91 Twardy Main Battle Tank, Poland
- German Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (Nov 22/13) – Deutschland und Polen unterzeichnen Vertrag zum Kauf von Leopard Kampfpanzern
- Polish MON (Nov 22/13) – Kolejne Leopardy dla wojsk ladowych
- Defence24 (Sept 22/13) – Polska kupuje Leopardy. Early report of the deal, numbers are very close but not exact. Also points out Polish industrial grumbles.
- Altair (Sept 6/12) – e-RAPORT MSPO 4/2012 – Ku spolonizowanemu Leopardowi 2PL. Germany’s KMW signed an agreement with Bumar Group re: modernization of Poland’s Leopard 2A4s.