Poland prepares the reception of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks coming from US

According to a Tweet published by the Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak on March 8, 2023, preparations are underway to hand over the first of the 116 American Abrams M1A1 tanks ordered for the Polish Army.
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Poland purchased 116  American-made M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. (Picture source Twitter account Mariusz Błaszczak)

In recent months, Poland has delivered hundreds of tanks to Ukraine, mainly consisting of Russian-made T-72 tanks and a modernized version called T-72M1R. In order to replenish its own tank inventory, Poland has ordered American-made M1A1 and M1A2 SEP V3 tanks, as well as K2 tanks developed in South Korea.

On January 5, 2023, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that Poland approved a contract with the United States for the supply of 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks for the Polish Army. The first M1A1 Abrams tanks will be delivered to Poland in April of this year.

The M1A1 Abrams is a Main Battle Tank manufactured by the American defense company General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). GDLS has been the primary manufacturer of the M1 Abrams tank since the 1980s when the tank was first introduced into service with the United States Army.

The M1A1 Abrams tank entered service with the United States Army in 1985, replacing the earlier M60 Patton tank. The M1A1 was an upgraded version of the original M1 Abrams tank, which had entered service in 1980. The M1A1 featured several improvements over the original M1, including a more powerful engine, improved armor protection, and a number of other upgrades to its weapon systems and electronics. The M1A1 Abrams saw its first combat use in the Gulf War in 1991, where it demonstrated its superiority over Iraqi armor and cemented its reputation as one of the most advanced and effective main battle tanks in the world.

The main armament of the M1A1 Abrams consists of one 120mm M256 smoothbore main gun, which is capable of firing a variety of ammunition types, including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds, high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and high explosive squash head (HESH) rounds. The gun is stabilized and fires accurately on the move, making it highly effective against both stationary and moving targets.

In addition to its main gun, the M1A1 is also equipped with a coaxial 7.62mm M240 machine gun, which is mounted next to the main gun and is operated by the tank commander. The M1A1 also has a pintle-mounted 12.7mm M2 machine gun on top of the turret, which can be operated by the loader.

The armor of the M1A1 Abrams is a composite armor made of various layers of steel, ceramics, and depleted uranium. The frontal armor of the tank is particularly thick and heavily reinforced, providing protection against heavy armor-piercing rounds and other high-velocity projectiles. The tank can also be equipped with explosive reactive armor (ERA) on its sides and turret, which can detonate and neutralize incoming threats.

The m1A1 tank is powered by a Honeywell AGT-1500 gas turbine engine, which provides it with a top speed of around 72 km/h on roads, and a range of up to 426 km on a single tank of fuel. The gas turbine engine is highly reliable and requires minimal maintenance, making it ideal for prolonged use in harsh combat environments.

The M1A1 Abrams tank also has an advanced suspension system that includes torsion bars and hydraulic shock absorbers, which allows it to maneuver over rough terrain with ease. The tank can climb steep grades and cross obstacles such as ditches and trenches, making it highly effective in both offensive and defensive operations.