Poland continues to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons. Following 236 T-72M1R tanks, 18 long-range 155-mm AHS Krab self-propelled guns, 40 units of BMP-1, more than 20 units of 122-mm self-propelled guns 2S1 Gvozdika, more than 20 complexes of 122-mm BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher, our western neighbors transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an unnamed, but apparently quite large number of main battle tanks PT-91 Twardy.
Video with a convoy of Polish PT-91 Twardy appeared online on July 15, and now the fact of the transfer of equipment, without announcing its quantity, was confirmed by the press secretary of the Polish Arms Agency Krzysztof Płatek during an interview with Wolski o Wojnie.
PT-91 Twardy is a Polish modification of the Soviet T-72 tank, which was produced in 1995–2009. It is interesting that the first versions of the Krab self-propelled guns were supposed to use some components of the PT-91 chassis.
To transform into the PT-91 Twardy T-72 received a new engine – a Polish diesel PZL-Wola S-1000R with a capacity of 1,000 hp. (735 kW) or diesel S-12U with 850 hp. (635 kW); Polish dynamic protection ERAWA, which covers only the front hemisphere; reinforced additional armor at the bottom under the driver’s seat; the French Savan-15T fire control system; and the Polish Radomka night vision device. In addition, the tank is equipped with a 12-barreled 81 mm Khmara smoke grenade launcher and a single 80 mm Tellur anti-laser grenade launcher.
Special attention should be paid to ERAWA reactive armor. The front part of the Twardy T-72 hull and turret is covered with 400 ERAWA protective blocks, almost without gaps. In addition to the main function, these units make the Polish tank less visible to technical means of detection – they have a 1K2KS special coating, which reduces the visibility of the tank in the infrared and radar ranges. The ERAWA protection system is said to increase the survivability of the PT-91 Twardy by 30-70%, depending on the type of projectile.
We remind that the Polish T-72M1 and T-72M1R did not have dynamic protection, therefore, before being sent to the front, in Ukraine the Kontakt-1 dynamic protection system obtained from the Czech defense company STV Group was installed on them.
According to Military Balance 2021, 232 PT-91 Twardy tanks were in service with the Polish Army last year, and another 48 such tanks were ordered and received by the Malaysian Army. That is, if Poland transferred at least half of its tanks to Ukraine, which is quite likely, it will be a rather significant reinforcement of the armored component of the Armed Forces. Yes, the PT-91 Twardy is no Leopard 2 or Abrams, but any armor is needed at the front.
Therefore, thank you very much, Poland, it is very noble. Especially considering that the first ordered by Poland itself to strengthen its own armed forces and cover the shortage of M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 tanks, M1A1 Abrams and K2 Black Panther will arrive at the end of 2022 at best.
Technical characteristics of PT-91 Twardy
Weight – 48.5 tons
Length – 6.86 m
Width – 3.70 m
Height – 2.60 m
Crew – 3 people
Armor – composite armor; frontal and side armor is laminated; front, side and upper part of the turret reactive armor ERAWA-1/ERAWA-2 ERA, steel side anti-cumulative screens
Main armament – 125-mm gun 2A46MS (40 rounds)
Secondary armament – 7.62-mm twin general-purpose machine gun FN MAG (2000 rounds), 12.7-mm anti-aircraft large-caliber machine gun FN M2 HB (250 rounds)
Engine – PZL-Wola S-1000R or S-12U diesel
Power – 1000 hp. (735 kW) or 850 hp. (635 kW)
Maximum speed – 70 km/h
Range – 650 km