Uncle Sam has long been a used-military vehicle salesman, and indeed, last Friday, Poland announced that it would acquire 116 used M1 Abrams tanks from the United States. The tanks – hopefully, they have low mileage – will be a part of Poland’s drive to strengthen its armed forces. Those efforts have gained fresh urgency after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In March, Warsaw vowed to raise its defense spending to three percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and Poland hopes to more than double the size of its army.
“We agreed on a contract with the USA concerning the purchase on preferential terms of 116 used Abrams tanks,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told public broadcaster TVP Info, adding that the deal would “significantly strengthen” Poland’s defense capabilities, Reuters reported.
Tanks New and Used
The financial terms were not disclosed, but this deal would follow an April contract that would see Poland purchase 250 additional new Abrams tanks. Under that deal, Poland would acquire Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tanks, and the procurement also included 26 M88A2 HERCULES maintenance vehicles and 17 M1074 Joint Assault Bridge Systems.
That deal came in at a value of approximately $4.75 billion, including ammunition and associated training and logistics packages.
“The agreement concerns the purchase of 250 Abrams tanks and accompanying technical support vehicles, including bridges, which will be used in the battle groups in which these tanks will operate,” Błaszczak said in April. “The contract also includes a training and logistics package. As a part of the contract, we also bought ammunition in a meaningful amount, which significantly reinforce our armed forces. This is a very important reinforcement of the Polish Armed Forces.”
The first of those M1 Abrams tanks are expected to reach Poland later this year, while remaining deliveries will be completed by 2026. The Polish military intends to deploy the most advanced Abrams tanks in the eastern part of Poland, on the Eastern flank of NATO, and they will serve with the Polish Land Forces’ 18th Mechanized Division.
Polish troops began training on the M1 Abrams earlier this year.
M1 Abrams: Preparing for a Future Frontline
Warsaw has ramped up efforts to deter a Russian invasion following the Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine, while Washington had responded by deploying nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland, along with fighter aircraft.
Poland will also be the future home of a U.S. missile defense site. The U.S. broke ground on that installation in the spring of 2016. Washington has emphasized that a missile defense shield in Europe’s east would protect NATO from short- and medium-range missiles launched by potential adversaries in the Middle East, but it is clear now that the platform might be used to stop Russian missiles instead.
Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.