Defence minister: Abrams tanks meant for training Polish soldiers already in Poland
Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Monday that Abrams tanks that will be used to train Polish soldiers had already arrived. "We will be ready when the first of 250 state-of-art tanks we purchased arrive," the minister said. Poland bought 250 Abrams tanks to fill the void created after handing over 240 T-72 tanks to Ukraine.
"Abrams tanks, which will be used to train Polish soldiers, are already in Poland. We will be ready when the first of 250 state-of-art tanks we purchased arrive. Poland will wield modern and powerful force, in order to deter aggressors in situations of danger," Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Twitter on Monday (July 18).
According to IAR agency, the first batch of Abrams tanks purchased by Poland should be delivered in the beginning of 2023. The American tanks, the agency said, will fill the void created after Poland had handed 240 modified T-72 tanks over to Ukraine.
Deal worth nearly 5 billion dollars
On April 5, Poland signed a deal with Washington to purchase 250 Abrams tanks as it seeks to bolster its military in an effort to deter potential Russian aggression on its eastern border.
The sale of Abrams tanks to Poland, which is also home to a future U.S. missile defence site, is another sign of a deep and growing defence relationship with the United States.
It follows the deployment of nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland as well as additional fighter aircraft, as part of Washington's response to the Ukraine crisis. Defence Minister Błaszczak said at the time the deal was worth approximately 4.75 billion dollars. "It's a very important day in the history of Polish-American cooperation, but also for the Polish Army," he added.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski said on Twitter that he had taken part "in a very important event for Poland's security". "Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed a deal to purchase 250 Abrams tanks for the Polish Army," he added.
"The United States and Poland are united in defending every inch of NATO territory. We stand together and nothing will change that!" - the U.S. ambassador stressed.
Additional 116 used Abrams tanks
Poland will buy 116 used Abrams tanks from the United States, Mariusz Błaszczak said on Friday (July 15). Poland has vowed to raise its defence spending to 3% of gross domestic product and more than double the size of its army to deter any possible attack after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two. "We agreed a contract with the USA concerning the purchase on preferential terms of 116 used Abrams tanks," minister Błaszczak told IAR agency, adding that the deal would "significantly strengthen" Poland's defence capabilities. The deal comes in addition to a contract for the purchase of 250 Abrams tanks announced in April. Błaszczak did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
M1A2 Abrams tank
Since the Gulf and Iraq War (1991 and 2003), the Abrams tank has been hailed as "indestructible" and became one the symbols of the U.S. Army and military technology of the USA. What makes this vehicle special, compared to other such tanks, is that ammunitions storage is kept separately from the crew compartment.
The main armament of the tank is the M256A1 120 mm smoothbore gun. Additionally, it has three machine guns: a 12.7 mm M2, and two 7.62 mm M240. The M1A2 SEP V3 is powered by a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine, which develops a power of 1,500hp, that can allow the tank to run up to 70 km/h.
The manufacturer informed that the latest version has even better armour that minimizes that damage caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The M1 Abrams export version is used by the armies of Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Iraq, Morocco, and soon, Taiwan. The Abrams was first used in combat in the Persian Gulf War and has seen combat in both the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War under U.S. service. Iraqi Abrams tanks have seen action in the war against ISIL and have seen use by Saudi Arabia during the Yemeni Civil War.
The tank was named after General Creighton W. Abrams, a United States Army general who commanded military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters