WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s defense minister announced Wednesday that the country will buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the U.S. to counter Russian military capabilities, confirming previous reports of a planned acquisition.
“So we are ordering the most modern tanks. Tanks available in the best equipped version, tanks that are combat proven, tanks which were constructed to counter the most modern Russian T-14 Armata tanks,” Mariusz Błaszczak said during a military ceremony in Wesoła, as quoted in a statement.
Wesoła is a district of Poland’s capital Warsaw and is home to the 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade. The brigade is equipped with the Leopard 2A4 and Leopard 2A5 tanks which are currently the most modern tracked vehicles operated by the Polish Land Forces.
Błaszczak said once the U.S. tanks are delivered to the Polish military, they will be deployed to the country’s eastern area.
“These tanks will be in the first line of defense, of course if there will be such a need,” the minister said.
Deliveries of the new tanks are expected to begin in 2022. The value of the upcoming deal was not disclosed.
The forthcoming acquisition is to allow Warsaw to replace its outdated Soviet-designed T-72 and PT-91 tanks with a new tracked vehicle platform. Under the plan, the designed contract is to include logistics, training and simulators for Polish troops.
The latest development comes shortly after local media broke the story, citing sources close to the deal.
At that time, when asked about the potential purchase, a spokesperson for the Defence Ministry told Defense News the ministry had identified “the necessity to provide [Polish] armored military units with modern tanks that would comply with the requirements of the modern battlefield,” and it was working to “define the possibilities of securing these capacities based on the available technical solutions that are proposed [to Poland] by potential suppliers.”
The SEPv3 variant of the Abrams tank weights 73.6 tons, can travel at 42 mph. According to the U.S. Army’s Acquisition Support Center, the development of a SEPv4 variant is ongoing through fiscal 2023.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.