Land Platforms

Poland reinforces armour

12 July 2017
Poland plans to purchase more Leopard 2 tanks. Source: Polish National Ministry of Defence

Under its new strategic defence review, Poland plans to expand its armoured component by purchasing additional Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs), upgrading older T-72 and PT-91 tanks, and increasing the level of protection of other combat vehicles.

The defence review, published in May 2017, sets as the main priority for Poland to prepare to defend its own territory and reinforce deterrence capabilities based on national defence capabilities.

It is planned for the Polish armed forces to reach a strength of 200,000 soldiers, including 53,000 territorial defence forces, and to create an additional, fourth division for the land forces.

Part of the plan is to contract Rheinmetall Defence to upgrade 142 Polish Leopard 2A4s to the Leopard 2PL standard and to move heavy brigades from bases in western to central Poland.

Poland also plans to purchase additional second-hand Leopard 2 tanks. One possibility would be to buy Spanish Leopard 2A4s from Spain, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz told Polskie Radio 24 on 30 June, in which case they would also be upgraded to the Leopard 2PL standard.

Poland is also considering buying new tanks. On 30 May, the Armament Inspectorate announced a market survey for a new-generation tank equipped with active protection systems. However, Poland is mostly interested in joining a multinational programme to develop a new generation MBT, Deputy Defence Minister Tomasz Szatkowski announced on 4 July in an interview with the Polska Zbrojna military weekly.

Poland had earlier planned to replace older T-72s with a modern fire-support vehicle armed with a 120 mm gun, but the Gepard light tank programme was cancelled. In addition, Poland is no longer interested in a wheeled tank destroyer based on the Rosomak 8x8 chassis armed with a 105 or 120 mm gun.

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