MILMAG Defence & Space 02/2020 »

MILMAG - The Military Magazine1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade receives Leopard 2PL MBTs - MILMAG - The Military Magazine

1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade receives Leopard 2PL MBTs

The Polish Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that the first batch of three Leopard 2PL main battle tanks (MBT) was delivered to the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade in Wesoła near Warsaw, which is subordinate to the 18th Mechanised Division in Siedlce.

A Leopard 2PL MBT, one of the modernized vehicles, which have latelly been delivered to the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade / Photo by: 18th Mechanised Division, Polish MoD

The new equipment was already tested during a series of field exercises conducted by elements of the 18th Mechanised Division, which aside from the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade, also includes: 19th Lublin Mechanized Brigade in Lublin and 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade in Rzeszów. An independent 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Tomaszów Mazowiecki also took part in the event.

Delivery of the first batch of Leo 2PL MBTs to the 1st Warsaw Armoured Brigade indicates that the Polish Army has probably taken over as much as 9 modernized main battle tanks. The first 6 vehicles are said to have already been handed over to the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade in Świętoszów, subordinate to the 11th Armoured Cavalry Division in Żagań. They are used for training of future Leo 2PL crews and maintenance personnel.

At the end of May 2020 the Polish Army took delivery of a number of prototype Leopard 2PL MBTs. The vehicles were to be delivered to the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade stationed in Świętoszów shortly after.

For the past several years modernization of the fleet of 142 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to the 2PL standard remained a top priority for the Polish Armed Forces. The project is run by a consortium of ZM Bumar-Łabędy, a subsidiary of the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa) and a number of other companies of the Group. German Rheinmetall Landsysteme is a strategic partner of the project.

The contract for modernization of a first batch of 128 vehicles was signed at the end of 2015. At that time it was expected that the project would be finalized by late 2020. The contract included and option for the upgrade of an additional batch of 14 MBT, which was used in 2018. The follow-on vehicles were to be transferred to the Army in 2021.

However, according to information provided recently by the Armament Inspectorate, which acts on behalf of the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD), these deadlines won’t be met. According to current estimates, the full fleet of 142 modernised Leopard 2PL vehicles should be delivered to the Army by 31st July 2023 (with 43 vehicles in 2020).

On 24th December 2019 the Armament Inspectorate signed an amendment to the original agreement, covering additional works and services which need to be provided as part of Leopard 2PL modernization. In result, PLN569 million (€124 million) had to be added to the programme’s budget, bringing the total cost of Leopard 2PL modernization to PLN3.2 billion (€700 million).

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