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07 September 2016

MSPO 2016: PGZ Presents PT-16 Main Battle Tank

During MSPO 2016 in Kielce, Poland, PGZ (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa) revealed a technology demonstrator of a new tank, named as the PT-16 (Polish Tank 2016). It is a modernised offering of the PT-91 TWARDY tank, which is an indigenous development of the T-72M1 tank, designed in the 1990s by two Polish companies – OBRUM and ZM Bumar-Łabędy. They are now both part of the PGZ and responsible for the PT-16 programme.


PT-16 is an upgraded PT-91 with improved survivability, situational awareness and firepower, and is based on the chassis of the PT-91. While the old tank is equipped with the PZL-Wola S-1000R diesel engine (1000 hp, 735 kW), PGZ and its companies plan to install a new powerpack (up to 1200hp). A new tank would have additional composite armour providing a ballistic protection of approx. 100RHA. To remove weaknesses of the TWARDY tank, the PT-16 would be equipped with a modern fire-control system and a remotely controlled weapon station known as ZSMU-127 KOBUZ with either a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun. It is not ruled out that an unmanned turret could offered.

The PT-16 would have a weight of 47,5t and a maximum speed of 70km/h.


While the PT-91 is equipped with the 2A46MS 12 mm smoothbore gun (the same that is used in the T-72), the PT-16 would be equipped with an as yet undetermined 120mm smoothbore gun (like the 120mm KBM2 from Ukraine) able to use NATO-standard ammunition, including advanced kinetic energy penetrators, such as the DM53 and its further development DM63. It is possible that the most likely weapon of choice would be the Rheinmetall L44 120mm gun, which is currently used on all Polish LEOPARD 2A4/2A5 tanks. According to information from MSPO 2016, it is planned that the Polish company HSW (Huta Stalowa Wola) would be responsible for the production of these guns.

Poland now has 232 TWARDY tanks in service, which are currently used in four battalions in three brigades (1st Armoured Brigade, 2nd Mechanised Brigade and 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade). The Polish Armed Forces do not plan any modernisation and want all PT-91s be phased out by the 2030s. However, Polish companies responsible for the armour project still believe that TWARDY has some potential for modernization, carried out either independently or with Ukrainian assistance. It is offered to upgrade a loading system and improve gun stabilisation.

TWARDYs serve in Malaysia, who might be interested in procuring the PT-16 modernisation package.

Robert Czulda