Poland opens tank repair facility for Ukraine

Poland announced that the maintenance center in Gliwice has begun receiving and repairing Ukrainian tanks damaged in the fighting with Russia.

“The maintenance center in Gliwice has commenced operations. The first two Leopards have been delivered from Ukraine to the Bumar plant,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced on July 22.

Mr. Blaszczak also published a photo of a Leopard 2 delivered to the aforementioned maintenance center, but it is not clear what variant and whether this is a Ukrainian tank or not.

It is not clear whether the center in Gliwice is a joint initiative of Poland and Germany, the producer of the Leopard Tank. During the meeting of defense ministers of NATO member countries at Ramstein base in April, Blaszczak signed an agreement with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on the establishment of a maintenance center for the entire Leopard 2 line of tanks at the Bumar Labedy mechanical plant in Gliwice.

Blaszczak said that Ukraine planned to have two Leopard 2 battalions with variants 2A4 and 2A6 at that time. These tanks will be repaired at the Bumar Labedy plant. “This is an opportunity for the company to grow in the future as well as create more jobs at the facility in Gliwice,” said Mr. Blaszczak.

Poland is one of the most active supporters of Ukraine after its conflict with Russia broke out at the end of February 2022. Last year, Poland was one of the countries that put the most pressure on Germany to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

At the time, German officials said it was necessary to act with caution, fearing that the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “could escalate the conflict or provoke Russia”. However, Germany in January agreed to aid Leopard 2 to Ukraine, at the same time the US approved the delivery of M1 Abrams tanks.

The Leopard 2 is a third-generation battle tank developed in the 1970s for the West German army, which entered service in 1979. Germany produces more than 3,600 Leopard 2 tanks, a series of variants available in the army of Germany and 13 European countries, as well as many countries outside the region.

The UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimates the number of Leopard 2 vehicles in Europe today at more than 2,000. The West has delivered 30 Leopard 2A4, 21 Leopard 2A6 and some engineering vehicles using the same chassis to Ukraine.