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Poland Buying Korean Tanks?


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#101 JasonJ

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 0703 AM

 

 

I think Poland's belief that it's air force would even get off the ground in the event of a conflict with Russia is bizarre. F-35s are an enormous waste of money. That's way off topic though. Has anyone heard any more about the potential K2 buy?

Here's a korean web page that has a little more detail towards the end of it. Parenthesis are my on add-in comments. There's a part saying that according to Polish media, Poland was considering three other tanks which were the Challenger 2, the T-90, and the M1. The Challenger 2 was a no go because of weak success in international sales and the T-90 was no good because of geopolitics (obviously). So that left the M1 as the remaining strong competitor to the K2. A security think tank sort of group called TNI speculates that the K2 might have won because of greater willingness for ROK to export tank technology than the US, such as the 120L55 gun, armor tech, and K279 ammunition. K2 does not get produced with APS ability (even through during K2 development, APS was developed for it) but procuring the K2 tanks even without APS might be viewed as cost saving for Poland (ROK produced its own K2 tanks without APS for cost reasons too). M1 can carry 34 to 36 rounds in the turret but K2 only can carry 16 in the turret due to autoloader.
 
No mention of Leo 2.
Spoiler
http://m.g-enews.com...&ssk=pcmain_0_1

Sounds like nonsense.
The T-90 would not even be considered in the first place.
The Challenger 2 in its current form is too outdated, and its modernized form has yet to be fully decided on. It is therefore a relatively high risk, long schedule program that will not offer Poland any real advantage over any other candidate.
The Abrams is American so there's that political bonus, but the switch to a diesel engine (ACE) has yet to advance from the drawing board. While demonstrators exist, there are no solid plans to add it to any existing vehicle, and when talking about its potential, I don't remember the Abrams even coming up.
Either way, it's not the only candidate. Other candidates are:

Type 10 - Japan has recently started revising its defense policy and that includes the approach toward export of weapons. They are technically not prohibited by law (domestic) from exporting to any NATO country, because the definition of countries likely to be involved in conflict is very arbitary.
Overall, Type 10 may not be the best choice but if they considered the Chally 2 and T-90, then that's not far fetched.

Leclerc - fund continued development of the Leclerc XLR under the Scorpion program, for Polish needs, and negotiate with Nexter on how to start production in Poland.

Merkava 4 - quite suitable because of its L44 gun, and would be a more direct competitor to the Abrams based on their approaches to protection and mobility.
Israel's approach to Merkava export is odd. It had offered the Mark 3 to Turkey, an unknown version to Switzerland, maybe Greece. In 2010 it showcased the Mark 4 in Eurosatory, and the Namer was a GCV contender.
However since then they were silent, and when asked about the Czech program they offered the Sabra instead.

Oplot - Ukraine has a bad reputation with its Oplot contracts, but if Poland manages to secure domestic production, that issue should be completely negated (unless they start having problems of their own, but ultimately they want to produce as much at home as possible, and Oplot is one of the least complex candidates).

 

Well, I'm just conveying the contents of the article and not using it as my own opinion on the matter.

 

About the changes to the defense matters with Japan, yes that's true. Reinterpretation of the constitution happened in 2014, new defense bills passed in 2015, and the defense laws becoming effective in 2016. Although since then, separate agreements with other countries regarding logistics sharing and tech transfers still needed to be made with individual countries. Such agreements have been made with the US, Australia, the Philippines, India, and some European countries like Italy, France, the UK and Germany. Not sure if such an agreement would need to be made with Poland first before enabling a sale of tanks. It can be further added as to what Japan has actually tried to sell abroad up until now, attempts including subs to Australia, static air defense radar to the Philippines and Thailand, US-2 to India, P-1 MPA to a few other countries like the UK and perhaps New Zealand (possible false reporting on the Japanese side), some advertising of C-2 in the ME with expressed interest but no negotiation process. I don't think there's been any effort reported about Japan trying to sell the Type 10 so far.

 

When you say "other candidates" do you mean other tanks that are actually part of the selection process or just "candidates" as in suitable tanks for the job in Poland?


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#102 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 1229 PM

As in suitable tanks for the job. I have serious doubts they considered the Challenger 2 and T-90.
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#103 bd1

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 1345 PM

maybe it was just matter of confusing T-90 with (updating ) polish PT-91


Edited by bd1, 24 February 2020 - 1346 PM.

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#104 Nobu

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 1446 PM

It is also not the most ideal choice. It lacks rubber pads for European roads, although that's not something that cannot be fixed.
Poland could leverage a long term, thorough, and proven methodology for continued development and support of the tank, already used by RAPAT.
But overall its passive protection is built more around a British concept, which Poland may or may not like.
Its engine is German, so there's that issue. On the other hand it is license produced by General Dynamics.
It has a 4 man crew so if it wants to go for autoloading, it's not the best choice.

Most importantly, perhaps, is Poland's bridge infrastructure that supports only AFVs around 50 tons, not 65 tons. That puts the K2 in a good position versus western candidates.

I could give more examples but it's not as straightforward as it seems.
Maybe if Poland decides they want HAPCs and HIFVs as well, it would be a much more logical option, but until then...

 

 

These examples are interesting. The German engine may actually be a feature, as I think the Poles are averse to the political optics of buying a German tank, not to German quality.

 

The question of Polish bridges is painful. The $4 billion spent on F-35s could have been the answer.

 

Unfortunate for Poland, as its deciding to opt for a heavy mech partnership with Israel would have gone a long way toward carving out the independent identity within NATO for itself that it appears to crave.
 


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#105 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 1808 PM

I've heard plenty of the "if we just don't buy X, we could buy a hundred Y".
That does not work like this. By delaying the F-35 buy they are just spending more on maintaining current aircraft before making the purchase. So no gain.
By not buying F-35 at all, they're giving up strategic capabilities. Strengthening one strategic capability is not equivalent to creating a whole new one.
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#106 DB

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 0957 AM

That is only true if you believe that you need to sustain the legacy capability. See, for example Chris Werb's opinion on the utility of F-35. That opinion will logically apply to the existing capability too.

See also lastdingo's comment about Germany's need for a (blue water) navy, elsewhere.

Don't necessarily agree with those examples, but the point should be clear - at some point you stop breeding better cavalry horses and replace them with something completely different.
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#107 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 1230 PM

That is only true if you believe that you need to sustain the legacy capability. See, for example Chris Werb's opinion on the utility of F-35. That opinion will logically apply to the existing capability too.

See also lastdingo's comment about Germany's need for a (blue water) navy, elsewhere.

Don't necessarily agree with those examples, but the point should be clear - at some point you stop breeding better cavalry horses and replace them with something completely different.


The F-35 compared with any legacy aircraft, is analogous to replacing something with something completely different, while buying new tanks at the moment is a lot more like breeding new horses.

I believe the next generation of tanks, the 4th, is right around the corner, and will enter service before 2030, with critical masses around mid 2030's.
But right now tanks are not much different than the first tanks of the 3rd generation.

That's like 4th gen vs 4++ gen in aircraft.

Poland is in a position of great inferiority. That is why it needs to prioritize its strategic capabilities first, and strengthening tactical capabilities last.
Or more specifically, it needs force multipliers.
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#108 Nobu

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 1402 PM

Allowing an infrastructure condition preventing NATO armor from reinforcing it to continue sounds like compounding great inferiority with great stupidity.

 

Polish F-35s in subordination to the combined airpower of the USAF and its NATO allies will not be decisive, strategically or otherwise.

 

Alone, they could be a strategic component of an independent Polish foreign policy. The prestige of showing others it can afford and operate them will help in that regard. They also say something about Poland's priorities in various ways.


Edited by Nobu, 25 February 2020 - 1405 PM.

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