US State Department issues consent for sale of Abrams tanks to Poland

According to Poland's defence ministry, the Abrams will be delivered next year. AA/ABACA/PAP

The US Department of State has approved the sale to Poland of 116 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks and related equipment to an estimated cost of USD 3.75 billion, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on Tuesday.

The tanks are an older version than the 250 M1A2 SEP v3 Abrams ordered by Poland earlier and are intended to fill the gap left by the country sending tanks to Ukraine. 

"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" the DSCA said in a statement. 

Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak described the State Department's consent as "a further step towards increasing the armoured potential of Poland armed forces," adding that the price had yet to be negotiated.

"A strong army is a secure Poland," Blaszczak wrote on Twitter.

In addition to the tanks, Poland has requested 12 M88A2 HERCULES Combat Recovery Vehicles, eight M1110 Joint Assault Bridges, six M577A3 Command Vehicles, 26 26) M1152A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees) and 26 M1279A1 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles as well as machine guns and tens of thousands of pieces of tank ammunition. 

According to Poland's defence ministry, the Abrams will be delivered next year. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed the timeline on Facebook on Wednesday.

"The Law and Justice government is working on accelerated delivery," he wrote. "Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak is in the course of negotiations with the American side and it's possible that the first Abrams units will reach us next year." 

US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski welcomed the development, writing on Twitter: "We are pleased with the continuation of cooperation with Poland in the field of defence. 116 Abrams tanks will significantly strengthen the security of Nato's eastern flank."