United Kingdom: The British Army deploys a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks in Poland

  • July 13, 2022
  • 2 Min Read

In April, when Warsaw was preparing to hand over a large part of its T-72 tanks inherited from the Soviet period to the Ukrainian army, the British government announced that it was ready to send Challenger 2 tanks to Poland, in order to to remedy the temporary capacity deficit caused by this Polish aid to Kyiv.

According to the plans of the Polish Ministry of Defense, the T-72s were to be partly replaced by 250 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks ordered from the United States for approximately five billion dollars, the objective being to equip four battalions under the the 18th Mechanized Division. However, the first copies should not be put into service before 2026.

In addition, Warsaw also launched the Wilk program, in order to replace the PT-91 Twardy tanks. If the purchase of German Leopard 2s seemed logical given that the Polish army already has them, it would seem that, failing to agree with Berlin, the South Korean track, with the K2PL “Black Panther” holds the rope.

Be that as it may, and in the meantime, Poland will therefore be able to count on the United Kingdom since the proposal made by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson [now resigned, editor’s note] has come to fruition with the deployment of a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks with the Polish 18th Mechanized Division.

This is yet another solid proof of the support given to the eastern flank of NATO by the British“, argued Mariusz Błaszczak, the Polish Minister of Defense, commenting on a publication of the 18th Mechanized Division on the subject the arrival of the British Army’s Challenger 2s.

That said, this reinforcement will obviously not compensate for the T-72s ceded to Ukraine. The British unit deployed in Poland is A Squadron [Prince Philip’s Squadron] of the Queen’s Royal Hussars. And, each such unit has only 14 Challenger 2s. Such a deployment represents about 6% of the British Army’s heavy tank capabilities. Which is quite significant when you know that, at the end of the new reform which it will be subject to, it will only field 144, brought to the Challenger 3 standard.

In addition, at the beginning of June, the British army had deployed around thirty Challenger 2 in Estonia, where the United Kingdom plays the role of framework nation of the multinational battalion set up as part of NATO’s reassurance measures.

Image: Poland MoD