In a bid to improve their ground warfare capabilities, Polish soldiers attended an M1 Abrams tank training at the Idaho Army National Guard 204th Regional Training Institute.
The development comes after the Polish army — which operates Soviet-designed T-72 and P-91 tanks — requested procurement of 250 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks from the United States in July.
The M1A2 SEPV3 is the latest upgraded version of the Abrams main battle tank. It provides greater lethality, accuracy, and fuel efficiency than its predecessors.
“They [Polish soldiers] came here to experience first-hand training with the M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tank and to understand how we train and construct courses for Soldiers becoming tankers in the US military,” Idaho Army National Guard, Maj. Noah Siple said in a press release.
“Not only did they have that opportunity and are leaving here with lived experience to implement their own training, but they also got to engage and build relationships with all elements of the Idaho Army National Guard to continue building those capabilities in the future.”
The training aimed at imparting “technical and tactical skills” to the Polish army for the use of M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tanks against enemy positions during unified land operations. The trained Polish soldiers will become tank crew instructors upon their return home.
“We integrated the Polish soldiers as much as possible into the training course to give them many of the same opportunities we give our US students,” added Sgt. 1st Class Lucas Kaserman, the crewman transition course manager.
“They already have a familiarity with tanks, which was helpful, however, the M1 is a different kind of tank with a lot of new things to learn.”
Countering ‘Russian Aggression’
Poland has been attempting to boost its defense capabilities as it faces Russian drills on its eastern border with Belarus. Imparting training to its military and purchasing modern tanks such as the Abrams M1A2 SEPV3 from the US is seen as an attempt to enhance its security in view of Russian assertiveness, particularly since the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
In July, Poland’s defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced plans to procure 250 M1 Abrams tanks from the US in a deal worth $6 billion.
At a press conference, while indirectly referring to Russia, Blaszczak said: “Of course this is a response to the challenges we face in terms of international security. Our task is to deter a potential aggressor. We all know where that aggressor is.”