The local press reports that in the near future the Polish Army will take delivery of another batch of 5 modernized Leopard 2PL main battle tanks (MTBs). In all, in 2021 the Army could receive as much as 18 Leopards 2PL (More Leopard 2PL tanks set off to Wesoła, 2020-11-20).

Photo by: Polish MoD

Photo by: Polish MoD

According to Mrs. Ilona Kachniarz, director of the marketing and communication department at the Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ), in more or less a month the Polish Army will take delivery of additional 5 modernized Leopard 2PL MBTs. In 2021 the number of delivered Leopard 2PL MBTs might reach as much as 18 vehicles. The final number will depend on undergoing technical and repair works and availability of spare parts.

The batch of 18 modernized Leopard 2PLs, which might be handed over to the Army, includes 4 vehicles handed over to Poland in 2018-2019 by the German Rheinmetall Defence, which plays a decisive role in the Leo 2PL modernization programme. These vehicles have not yet been handed over to the Army. As a reminder, in 2020 the Army took delivery of 12 modernized Leopard MBTs.

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).