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01 Sep 2022

Abrams-maker GDLS announces $1.1 billion tank deal for Poland

WASHINGTON — Dollars will start flowing toward Poland’s long-planned purchase of tanks, as the U.S. Army taps General Dynamics Land Systems to make 250 Abrams in the newest configuration, the company announced.

The $1.148 billion contract — awarded in late July, according to the Army — will get Poland new features in communications, firepower and armor for its future Abrams fleet, per an Aug. 25 company statement.

Initially requested by Poland a year ago, the first M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams are expected to reach the country’s military in early 2025, according a U.S. Army statement. Training for Polish soldiers began following the inauguration of an Abrams Tank Training Academy at Biedrusko Training Area, the Army announced earlier this month. The service made 28 Abrams tanks available to the country last month for that purpose.

Poland is rushing to modernize its armored capabilities, as officials study the course of Russia’s assault on Ukraine. In that conflict, tanks and artillery have played a critical role on both sides. Western military support of these weapon types to Ukraine, including from Poland, has reportedly helped Ukrainian forces hold Russian invaders at bay in the east.

“NATO’s strength lies in its unity, which has never been greater than it is today,” said Doug Bush, the Army’s acquisition chief. “This award is an example of the Army’s continuing work with our industry partners to increase production of critical military equipment capabilities to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our partners and allies.”

Earlier this year, before war in Ukraine began, the U.S. State Department cleared Poland to buy American military equipment worth up to $6 billion. The proposed package, published by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency for congressional review, included the 250 tanks now under contract.

Warsaw wants to buy additional tanks from South Korea, and faster. CNN reported in late July that the Polish government hopes to get almost 1,000 copies of South Korea’s K2-based tank in a large weapons package pegged at $14.5 billion in Korean media reports. The deal also includes hundreds of self-propelled K9 howitzers, manufactured by Hanwha Defense.

Made by Hyundai Rotem, the first 180 K2 tanks are scheduled to be shipped later this year, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, Polish officials were also hoping to get a batch of Leopard 2 tanks from Germany to replace some of the equipment donated to Ukraine. But such deal has yet come to fruition, with leaders in both countries haggling over how many copies Berlin could spare and in what condition.

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