US approves sale to Poland of 250 Abrams tanks

VALDA KALNINA/PAP/EPA

The US State Department has approved the sale to Poland of 250 Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks, the vehicle's latest version, Poland's defence minister announced on Friday.

The tanks, which come with an estimated purchase price of USD 6 billion, are part of a modernisation programme of the Polish armed forces.

"Very important news for Polish security. The State Department has expressed approval for the sale of 250 Abrams tanks in the most modern M1A2 SEPv3 version. It's an extremely important strengthening of our defence capacity and one of the most important armament contracts in the history of Poland," Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

Commenting on the deal, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) wrote in a statement posted to its website: "The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries and participating in Nato operations. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Nato Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe," the DSCA also wrote.

The Polish government has also applied for the purchase of a range of other military equipment from the US including 500 machine guns, combat recovery vehicles and thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, the DSCA reported.

The Polish government announced its desire to buy the American tanks last year and Blaszcak said the first batch of them would reach Poland in 2022.

The tanks are produced by the General Dynamics company at its factory in Lima, Ohio.