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In 2015 Poland launched the modernization program for 142 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. It was envisaged that Rheinmetall Defense would first modernize a prototype and, following series approval, five other main battle tanks. The Polish contractor, Bumar-Łabędy, was then to convert 12 tanks under the guidance of Rheinmetall. The remaining tanks should be delivered under the direction of Bumar-Łabędy by 2021.

To date, the Polish side has still not accepted the first prototype. It does not meet the requirements of the Polish armed forces and cannot be operated by the user in a safe manner and in accordance with its purpose, said a spokesman for the arms inspection. Additional tests are currently underway to additionally verify the fulfillment of several requirements.

The aim is to test the first modernized tanks in the troops later this year.

In the last amendment to the contract in December 2019, the contractor undertook to produce the full technical capability and to modernize the 142 tanks by July 31, 2023. The updated gross price of the program has now risen to 730 million euros. From today's perspective, meeting this deadline hardly seems possible.

Modernisierung der polnischen Leopard 2 stockt
Modernisierung der polnischen Leopard 2 stockt

The modernization of the tanks to the Leopard 2PL standard includes, among other things, the improvement of the turret armor, the installation of electrical turret drives, the increase in performance of the 120 mm cannon for the use of temperature-controlled ammunition and the comprehensive renewal of the reconnaissance and vision systems for day and night operation.

Gerhard Heiming