On 6 December, the US State Department approved the possible sale of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Poland. The sale comes out to a whopping $3.75 billion although Polish defense minister Mariusz Błaszczak tweeted that this is not yet final and that price negotiations are getting underway.
The potential sale includes M829A2 and A3 depleted uranium armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds in addition to the Abrams. The sale also includes 348 machine guns, 303,751 rounds of 120mm ammunition of various types, spare parts, manuals, contracts for training for Polish crews and technicians, communications equipment, other ammunition, and significant amounts of logistics and maintenance support. On top of this, a number of other vehicle types have been included in the deal:
- 12 M88A2 HERCULES Combat Recovery Vehicles
- 8 M1110 Joint Assault Bridges
- 6 M577A3 Command Vehicles
- 26 M1152A1 Humvees
- 26 M1279A1 JLTV Joint Light Tactical Vehicles
Perhaps most interestingly the Abrams are described as being the older M1A1 variant. Polish officials had stated back in July that an agreement regarding the sale of 116 Abrams had been made although details had not been released until now. They will be fielded alongside 250 M1A2 Abrams which the US agreed to sell to Poland in a separate agreement.
Tanks have been a major focus of Poland’s massive crash military modernization program which began following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The country has also agreed to purchase nearly 200 Korean K2 tanks of which the first 10 have just arrived in Poland yesterday along with 24 K9 self-propelled howitzers. The Abrams, which was design with the open terrain of central Europe in mind, will initially be fielded by the Polish 18th Mechanized Division which is deployed all along the Eastern border and is responsible for guarding the relatively open ground between Warsaw and the border. The K2s, which were designed with Korea’s more rugged terrain in mind, are slated to initially be deployed by the Polish 16th Mechanized Division which operates in Poland’s Northeast – an area where the terrain is less open and the land is broken up by a significant amount of lakes and rivers.
The Abrams and K2s will be fielded alongside German Leopards and older Soviet-Era T-72s and PT-91s although the Soviet-era vehicles are expected to be phased out. According to current plans, the most numerous tank in the future Polish armored force will be the domestically produced K2PL based on the K2 design of which 800 are expected to be built.
The official press release by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is available here.