The Polish Ambrams will be ex-US M1 Abrams, specifically the M1A1 SA. They will replace 232 T-72 that were donated to Ukraine.

Poland is on its way to becoming a tank power in Europe. Besides the huge contract with Korean K2 tanks, Poland recently signed an agreement to buy the second batch of Abrams tanks worth $1.4 billion. The agreement envisages the delivery of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks and related equipment and logistics starting this year. Thus, together with the first batch of 250 M1A2 SEPv3 MBTs, the total number of M1s in Poland will be increased to 366, significantly increasing the strength of Poland’s ground forces in the context of Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine.

The Polish Ambrams will be ex-US M1 Abrams, specifically the M1A1 SA. They will replace 232 T-72 that were donated to Ukraine at a ratio of 1:2 and will eventually be upgraded to the M1A2 SEPv3 standard. Officials said Poland is the first U.S. ally in Europe to be receiving Abrams tanks. Poland is also awaiting delivery of American High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and has already received Patriot missile batteries.

M1A1 SA is a legacy variant of the Abrams MBT that has, however, been upgraded. The upgrades include the fire control system or the protection system for the MBT interior. That variant is still operated by the National Guard units – also those that were deployed to Orzysz and Bemowo Piskie between 2018 and 2019, as a part of the NATO Battlegroup. According to declarations that had been made by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the first MBTs are to be delivered next year.

The M1A1 SA weighs 67.6 short tons, compared to the 63 short tons of the standard M1A1. The M1A1 SA tanks will be configured with additional mission-critical technologies to bolster crew situational awareness (SA). This package increases the M1A1 Abrams tank’s fighting capability by providing soldiers with an electronic graphic of the battlefield with icons for friendly and enemy forces.

The M1A1 SA uses the same main armament as the standard version of M1A1 main battle tank. The SA version is armed with the 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun, which is equipped with a muzzle reference system to measure the bend of the gun tube. Mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun, and a similar weapon skate-mounted on the left side of the turret for the loader can be elevated from -30 to +65º, total traverse being 265º.

On the top of the turret, the M1A1 SA is fitted with a Stabilized Commander’s Weapon Station (SCWS) armed with an heavy machine gun 12.7mm caliber. The stabilized weapon station enables accurate firing of the machine gun while the tank is moving at speed over rough ground. Mounted on either side of the turret is a British-designed six-barrelled smoke grenade discharger designated the M250.

The hull and turret of the M1A1 SA is made with advanced armour construction, similar to the Chobham armour developed in the UK and gives protection against ATGWs and other battlefield weapons. Survivability improvements include frontal armor and turret side armor upgrades. The new special armour makes the Abrams M1A1 SA tank particularly lethal against heavy armor forces.

The M1A1 SA is motorized with a Lycoming Textron AGT 1500 gas turbine. The engine operates primarily on diesel or kerosene-based fuel, but can operate on petrol during emergencies. Approximately 70 per cent of the engine accessories and components can be removed without removing the power pack from the tank. M1A1 can reach a maximum road speed of 72 km/h, and 48 km/h when Off-road. The maximum range is 426 km.

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