Poland has announced the inauguration of its new ‘Regional Competency Centre’ for the Abrams family of main battle tanks (MBT) in Poznań, western Poland.

The facility will serve as a regional hub to maintain and sustain the platform for Abrams users in central and eatsern Europe.

It is ideally situated in a country that will soon induct the MBT and is relatively close to the war in Ukraine – in January 2023, the US government announced the supply of 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks vehicles to Ukraine.

Notably, the US Army’s ‘V-Corps’ is located in Poznań. This military unit serves as a tactical headquarters that commands all US forces on the Nato’s eastern flank. The unit is currently headed by the Polish Major General, Maciej Jablonski.

Poland’s armament group, PGZ, had originally signed an agreement with the US Abrams manufacturer, General Dynamics Land Systems, to establish this new Competency Centre at the end of June last year.

Background to the Competency Centre

According to the leading intelligence consultancy, GlobalData, the Polish Army currently operates a range of different MBTs: the new South Korean K2 Panther, the older K9A1, the German Leopard 2A4, Poland’s ageing PT-91, among others.

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In April last year, the Polish Government revealed that the US confirmed that the first 14 modern M1 Abrams tanks will be delivered to the Army in June 2023 – this is part of the 366 units ordered. Poland acquired the M1A1 version for its 18th Mechanised Division, as well as the M1A2 SEPv3 tanks already contracted in April 2022.

The new Competency facility was largely established in response to this order for the tank.

However, alongside Poland, other regional customers have requested the MBT too including Romania, which ordered 54 M1A2 SEPv3 units in November 2023.

Attendees of the inauguration of the new Abrams Regional Competence Centre in Poznań, 20 February 2024. Credit: PGZ.

Plans to evolve the Abrams tank

The Abrams tank can no longer grow its capabilities without adding weight, and we need to reduce its logistical footprint,” explained Major General Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems.

Therefore, the US Army plans to substantially reduce its weight and thus its sustainment through an open system architecture.

Simultaneously, the enduring SEPv3 variant will continue to play a part in the force structure as the most sustainable version of the Abrams tank.

“The army must be provided with support in terms of service, operation and maintenance of each type of equipment it has in its inventory,” said the vice-president of the management board of PGZ, Krzysztof Sola.

“I would like to thank the representatives of General Dynamics Land Systems, as well as the management board of Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne and the employees of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa for the fact that together we managed to implement this project in such a short time,” Sola emphasised.