Tuesday, 25 March 2014

PL-01 Future Stealth Tank Unveiled By Poland




Poland has unveiled it’s concept for the next generation PL-01 stealth tank, which incorporates technology that makes it invisible to enemy thermal imaging.

While the PL-01 looks like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie, it’s actually been slated for full scale production starting in 2018, and will be ready for export in 2022.

The International Defense Industry Exhibition MSPO 2013 took place in early September of this year in the Polish city of Kielce. The main novelty was shown to the public before the exhibition. This was a new development - PL-01 tank that a consortium of Polish defense companies decided to show to a wide audience before the opening of the exhibition.

The Poles announced the commencement of work on a new project of a national tank back in mid-February. Then it was reported that companies OBRUM, Bumar and Huta Stalowa Wola have begun the development of a promising tank for the Polish Armed Forces. Later, in May, a cooperation agreement with the corporation BAE Systems was signed.

At first the information about the tank was quite scarce. It was reported that it will have a combat weight of approximately 45-50 tons, the turret was to be unmanned, and the ammunition was to be placed in an insulated compartment similar to that of Abrams tanks. The pictures of the tank resembled those of another Polish development, Anders, and, apparently, the tank was to represent its revised version.

After the first presentation in February the long-term Polish tank was forgotten, and reemerged in the news only after its life-size model was built and shown at the exhibition. The model brought to the MSPO 2013 was similar to that demonstrated in February. However, a new concept had a number of differences. Polish tank builders have likely taken into account the peculiarities of certain technical solutions and changed the appearance of their prospective tank to incorporate all new trends.

However, a concept model is one thing. One can invent and manufacture anything of plywood and plastic. Its real embodiment in metal is quite another story. So far the new Polish tank PL-01 is still far from practical application, although its main features have now been identified and are likely to remain unchanged in the future. Previous developments of a Polish tank Anders were widely used in the project. At some point Anders was considered an advanced development and was meant to radically improve the state of the Polish armored forces.

The systems installed above the gun, as well as certain equipment to the right will likely be used for guiding weapons. On the front part of the turret, to the right of the gun, there is a small niche with two optical devices. To the left of the gun a large vertical slit is provided for in the turret, apparently intended for coaxial machine gun.

PL- 01 will receive a promising fire control system of foreign production, an active protection complex, and a number of other important systems. International Corporation BAE Systems will likely be involved in the creation of complex electronic equipment for this tank.

PL-01 is currently at the stage of early design development, and no more. In a short term the tank-building Polish consortium will show only its mockup at shows and exhibitions. The construction of its metal concept will start in a year or two, and testing of the finished tank is planned for 2016. If the work is completed according to the schedule, serial supply of PL- 01 to customers may start in 2018.

It is still early to say what the result of this work will be and who exactly would acquire the new Polish tanks. Most likely, they will be purchased by the Polish Ministry of Defense. Then other countries and military experts may start ordering, attracted by the original design of the tank and its price, expected to be significantly lower than that of the recognized global leaders of the modern tank building.

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