An early version of the PT-91 tank.
The PT-91 Twardy on parade.
The PT-91M Pendekar is an export version deployed by the Malaysian armed forces.
PT-91 performing demonstrator operations.
Erawa is advanced armour fitted on the PT-91.
PT-91 is equipped with 125mm guns and smoke grenade launchers.
The MBT is fitted with the Halon 1301 fire suppression system.

PT-91 Twardy main battle tank

The PT-91 Twardy main battle tank.

The PT-91 Twardy is a main battle tank designed by Obrum and manufactured by Bumar Labedy, Poland, to meet the requirements of the Polish and Malaysian Army. It is derived from the T-72M1 battle tank currently in service with the Polish Army.

The battle tank is manufactured by upgrading the T-72M1 with a dual-axis stabilised fire-control system, explosive reactive armour, a more efficient and powerful engine, and advanced automatic loader. The PT-91 entered into service in 1995.

PT-91 main battle tank orders and deliveries

About 20 PT-91 tanks were procured by the Polish Army in 1993 for field tests and armed forces trails. By 2002, 233 PT-91 had been acquired by the Polish Army.

The Malaysian Army placed a $370m order with Bumar Labedy for 48 PT-91M tanks and 15 support vehicles, which were delivered between 2007 and 2009. The Malaysian Army’s PT-91M Pendekar reached operational readiness in October 2010.

PT-91 Twardy variants

The PT-91 was followed by five variants, namely PT-91A Twardy, PT-91Z Hardy, PT-91M Pendekar, PT-91E/Ex and PT-91P.

The PT-91A is an advanced version of the PT-91 and is powered by a S-1000 engine producing 1,000hp. The variant is used as a demonstrator in military expos.

The PT-91Z Hardy is equipped with an advanced SAGEM Savan-15 fire control system.

"The PT-91 is derived from the T-72M1 battle tank in service with the Polish Army."

The PT-91M Pendekar is an export variant deployed by Malaysia. It is equipped with an enhanced 125mm gun, S-1000 engine, French fire control system, communication system and hydropneumatic transmission.

The PT-91 E/Ex is also an export variant supplied to different countries. The PT-91E is designated as SP1, while the PT-91Ex is named as SP2.

The PT-91P is an advanced version of the PT-91Ex, used as a demonstrator for the SITDEF Peru 2009 military expo. It is fitted with a Drawa fire control system, advanced thermal sight as well as a communication system.

PT-91 development

The development of the PT-91 began in July 1991 as part of the T-72 modernisation programme. The Ministry of Poland decided to upgrade the T-72 battle tank with a new fire control system and engine rather than purchasing extra Russian tanks for the Polish Army. The upgraded version of the T-72 was renamed the PT-91 Twardy. Bumar Labey is licensed to manufacture the PT-91 Twardy in the Poland region.

The battle tank features a steel anti-cumulative screen for displaying the route information and laser beams approaching the tank.

PT-91 self protection

"The PT-91 Twardy is fitted with a single 125mm main gun, which is capable of firing 42 rounds of ammunitions."

Erawa is advanced armour developed by the Poland Military Technical Institute for protecting the PT-91 from highly explosive grenades and missiles. It has been improved by eliminating the gaps between the bricks and offers better protection compared with explosive reactive armour (ERA). The armour occupies 9m² of space in the vehicle.

The modern laser warning system (LWS) identifies the laser beams used by the ATM launchers or missile guiding system. It protects the battle tank from missiles by automatically firing smoke grenades from two banks, each with six launchers. The commander can also fire these grenades manually.

PT-91 Twardy armaments

The PT-91 Twardy is fitted with a single 125mm main gun, which can fire 42 rounds of ammunitions. It is also equipped with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun, and 24 smoke grenade dispensers. The 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun and 7.62mm machine gun can fire 300 and 2,000 rounds respectively.

It is also incorporated with an autoloader, which reduces the workload of the tank crew. The autoloader can fire ammunitions at the rate of 10-12 rounds a minute. The traverse and elevation range of the battle tank is 360°, and +5.30° to +14° respectively.

PT-91 Twardy fire-control system

A fire control system comprising a gunner station is fitted in the PT-91 MBT. It has been modernised by replacing the soviet stabiliser with the TPDK-1, a stabiliser from Slovakia, which offers night-fighting capability.

"The PT-91 Twardy is powered by a single S-12U supercharged diesel engine."

The ballistic digital computer processes the information gathered by sensors, laser range finders, and manually inputs what is provided by the gunner or commander to determine the fire solutions.

The hunter-killer feature is obtained in the battle tank by combining both the gunner and commander station, which helps to track and destroy multiple targets quickly.

The integration of a dual-axis stabilised fire control system and electro-hydraulic gun stabilisation system can detect, identify, acquire and track a target efficiently, even in adverse weather conditions.

The crew compartment is equipped with an automatic fire suppression system (AFSS), integrated with infrared detectors that aid in detecting fire. The Halon 1301 suppresses any fire breakout in the compartment.

The engine compartment of the PT-91 is protected by an automated operating system that senses fire based on temperature-sensing Firewire and inhibits the fire with Halon 1211.

S-12U supercharged diesel engine

The PT-91 Twardy is powered by a single S-12U supercharged diesel engine, which can produce up to 634kW power. The S-12U is an advanced version of the Soviet V-46-6 engine; a modernised fuel and air injection system is responsible for increasing the power of the engine. The latest Twardy variants are fitted with 1000hp S-1,000 turbocharged engines.

PT-91 mobility

PT-91 can accomplish a maximum road speed of 60km/h. In the low gear, the vehicle can travel with 7km/h speed during low-speed manoeuvring. It has been designed to ford to a depth of 1.2m and 5m using torsion bar suspension. The Twardy can also cross rivers with water obstacles of 1m to 2m in depth without any preparation.