First steps to modernize the Polish PT-91 Hard tanks
Polish Land Forces have been using 232 PT-91 Hard tanks. They were received in years between 1995 and 2002 and were new built or rebuilt from remaining in service T-72s. The basis of changes in relation to the T-72 was a reactive armor, a modified engine and a fire control system Drawa. At least 30 vehicles received a simplified variant of the FCS marked as Drawa-M and equipped only in a night vision sight PCN-A. The other tanks, version Drawa-T, are equipped with the thermal imager TES Israeli company El-Op. The industry has long been proposing the modernization of the FCS PT-91 tanks, but only since one year the army looks more favorably on a deal and makes the first orders.
Tank PT-91 Hard will remain in service in the Polish army until 2030. With each year, however, there were growing problems with operation and maintenance of the efficiency of Israeli thermal imagers. It was therefore decided to replace them with the Polish product.
In the spring 2014, for the amount of 230 thousand euro a retrofit package described by the military as Drawa-TGA was ordered, where the base change is the Polish thermal imager KLW-1. The whole was integrated by leading in this area Polish plant, Industrial Optics Centre. The modernization package: KLW-1 thermal sight, MD-1 gunner's monitor, MFM-2 commander's multi-function monitor, the display WD-1 were placed on one of the tank PT-91, for trial in the Land Forces. They were so positive that in December 2014 another five retrofit packages were ordered.
The military didn't forget about the oldest tanks PT-91 Hard equipped with passive night vision sigth PCN-A with a range of 1200 meters. On May 21st 2015, for the amount of 383 thousand euro, two such packets from the manufacturer were ordered, in which the night vision sight will be replaced by the third generation thermal sight KLW-1.
KLW-1 operates in the spectral band of 8-12 um with a resolution of 640x512 pixels. It allows with a wide field of view (WFOV) to detect object in the size of 2,3x2,3 meters from a distance of 4700 meters, its identification with the narrow field of view (NFOV) from a distance of 2500 meters.
PT-91 Hard tanks are the equipment of four battalions belonging to the 1st Armoured Brigade (1st Battalion), 2nd Mechanized Brigade (1st Battalion) and 9th Armored Cavalry Brigade (2 battalions) Polish Land Forces. Until now, these units are rather cadre brigades, what has to be changed in the relation to the expansion program of garrisons in the eastern part of the Poland. PT-91 Hard was moderately successful in export of already realized contract for 48 tanks for Malaysia. The modernization package of T-72 to PT-91 is also in the interest of Ukrainians.
Mariusz Cielma/Dziennik Zbrojny