Poland is looking to boost its fleet of pre-owned Leopard tanks

WARSAW, Poland — The Polish Ministry of Defense is considering to purchase used Leopard tanks from an ally, according to Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski.

“Yes, we are looking for such possibilities. We have asked the Germans about it, but they do not possess any other used vehicles of this type. Spain’s Leopards are of a certain age, so there are some doubts on whether we should reach out for them,” Szatkowski told local news site Defence24.pl. 

Poland’s military operates used Leopard 2A4 and 2A5 tanks that the country acquired from the German Bundeswehr. In December 2015, the Polish ministry awarded a contract worth 2.415 billion zloty (U.S. $612 million) to a group of subsidiaries of Poland’s defense giant PGZ to modernize 128 of the country’s Leopard 2A4s by 2020. PGZ cooperates on the procurement with Germany’s Rheinmetall Landsysteme.

The potential procurement could be enabled by Polish plans to increase its military spending in the coming years. According to the government’s recently adopted Responsible Development Strategy, Warsaw is to increase its defense expenditure to 2.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, and to 2.5 percent by 2030. 

“This is a good direction. The Armed Forces have experienced many years of backwardness regarding their technical modernization,” the deputy minister said.

In 2017, Poland’s military spending is to total close to 37.7 billion zloty. This will represent an increase of 5 percent compared with a year earlier, according to figures from the Defense Ministry.

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