Minister of National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak has announced that preparations are underway for the handover to Poland of the first US Abrams tanks to fill the gap left by the T-72 tanks handed over to Ukraine.
“Preparations are underway for the handover of the first of 116 Abrams tanks ordered for the Polish Army. The first machines will be delivered to Poland as early as April”, the head of the Ministry of National Defence announced on Twitter.
A contract for 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks was signed in early January. The $1.4bn contract (of which nearly $200m is being covered by the US side as part of military aid based on the provisions for additional support in connection with the war in Ukraine) also covers the supply of 12 technical protection vehicles, 8 accompanying bridges, 6 command vehicles and 26 workshops on the Humvee chassis, training and logistical support.
Deliveries of the tanks and other military equipment are scheduled for 2023-2024. The tanks for Poland, which were previously armed with the US Marine Corps, are undergoing a detailed overhaul and will be delivered with zeroed mileage.
The M1A1 Abrams tanks will be delivered earlier than the vehicles purchased by Poland in the latest version of the M1A2 SEPv3, so that the rearmament of the Land Forces with Abrams tanks is expected to begin this year. The purchase of the older vehicles is expected to rebuild the potential of the armoured and mechanised brigades after the tanks were handed over to the embattled Ukraine, as well as increase the capacity of the Polish Land Forces.
The M1A1 Abrams will be deployed with the 18th Mechanised Division, alongside the 250 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks contracted last April, purchased at a cost of $4.75bn, along with associated equipment – which includes 26 M88A2 Hercules technical protection vehicles and 17 accompanying cars as well as a training and logistics package and a stockpile of ammunition.