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During MSPO 2020 in Kielce, the first modernised LEOPARD 2PL for the Polish Army was unveiled.

Upgraded by Gliwice-based Bumar-Łabędy, it includes additional turret armour, a new hydraulic gun stabilisation system and an improved RH-120 L44 smoothbore gun, which will be now able to fire more advanced types of ammunition, including the DM63 and DM78 CSDS-T/DM88. The LEOPARD 2PL variant has also received PCO’s KLW-1 ASTERIA thermal vision camera for gunner and commander, as well as the same company’s KDN-1 NYKS rear vision camera. Total weight has increased by 4t to 59.2t.

The first batch of five 2PLs was handed over to the training centre of the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade in Świętoszów in May. An additional three await imminent delivery. By the end of 2020, up to 12 2PLs are expected to have been delivered to the Polish Army. At the same time, LEOPARD 2A5s have been undergoing overhaul at Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne (WZM) in Poznań, while older T-72s have been modernised at Bumar-Łabędy.

Poland has 247 LEOPARD 2 tanks acquired from Germany: 128 A4s between 2002-2003; 14 A4s and 105 A5s between 2014-2015. The A4s are now being upgraded to the 2PL standard by Polish industry, led by PGZ’s Bumar-Łąbędy, in cooperation with Rheinmetall Landsysteme, which developed the modernisation programme. According to a contract signed in December 2015, the programme for 128 2A4 vehicles is to be completed by 30 November 2021: an additional agreement for 14 further tanks was signed in July 2018. It is anticipated that the 2PLs will receive modern communications solutions in the near future, offered by two Polish companies – Teldat and WB Electronics.

Robert Czulda in Kielce for MON

The LEOPARD 2PL on display at MSPO 2020. (Photo via author)

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