T-72M1R, Leopard 2PL tanks will strengthen Poland’s capabilities in 2022

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WARSAW, ($1=3.95 Polish Zlotys) – At the beginning of 2022, deliveries of several types of tanks to the Polish Army are planned, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence24. These include the continuation of the currently implemented programs for the modification of the T-72M / M1 tanks to the T-72M1R standard and the modernization of the Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Leopard 2PL standard.

Both the T-72 and the Leopard 2A4s are operated by some tank battalions of the Polish Land Forces. The modification of the T-72 tanks is carried out under an agreement concluded in July 2019. Under it, capital repairs are to be carried out with limited modification. The contract is carried out in the resulting formula and it was assumed that 230 tanks were refurbished and modified, and another 88 were optional.

The first 8 T-72M1Rs were delivered in 2019. Another 28 went to line service in 2020. According to the information provided by PGZ to the editorial office of Defence24.pl, in 2021 they were joined by another 39 renovated and modified vehicles. Plans for 2022 include the continuation of deliveries of 15 copies of the previous year’s pool, as well as the delivery of another 35 copies planned for the current year.

Thus, by the end of this year, a total of 125 T-72M1R Main Battle Tanks will be inline service. This includes both cars that have remained in service all the time and are scheduled for overhaul and modification, and cars that are brought back to the line. The modification of the T-72 tanks includes the introduction of new observation systems (including a thermal imager for a targeter) manufactured by PCO, WB Group communication means, a GPS DAGR receiver, and several other improvements.

In turn, the modernization of the Leopard 2 vehicles is carried out under an agreement concluded in December 2015. Many companies of the Polish defense industry are participating in the modernization, including the foreign partner Rheinmetall. As a result of signing an annex to the contract in July 2018, the scope of work was extended to another 14 vehicles, which will modernize all 142 Leopard 2A4 MBTs in the service of the Polish Army, and also include additional functionalities to the version marked with as Leopard 2PLM1.

In turn, deliveries of the modernized Leopard 2PLs encountered multiple delays. For this reason, the existing contract has been annexed five times. The last annex from December 2019, covering the resultant repairs of tanks, increased the total value of the contract to $832 million. The first 12 examples of these tanks were not delivered until 2020. Last year, another 13 were added to the line service, including one in the latest version of the Leopard 2PLM1.

The next vehicle from the batch scheduled for last year is currently being commissioned. In the first quarter of this year, a total of 5 tanks are to be delivered, including 4 in the 2PLM1 version. Plans for 2022 provide for a total of 24 copies, of which as many as 23 are in the 2PLM1 version. Thus, at the end of this year, a total of 49 Leopard 2PL MBTs (including 24 Leopard 2PLM1 tanks) will be inline service.

Previous information shows that the currently annexed contract providing for the delivery of 142 tanks is to be implemented by July 2023, but in practice, this date will most likely have to be extended.

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