Poland develops new PT-16 main battle tank

PT-16 main batlle tank. Photo by bumar.gliwice.pl
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One of Polish biggest military manufacturers unveils the new PT-16 main battle tank. That was reported by below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com.

The new tank is supposedly called PT-16, but it is not clear if this is the final name. It is mainly meant for export, as the backbone of the Polish tank force is meant to be the Leopard 2, which is in process of being upgraded to the new Leopard 2PL configuration in the near future. The new PT-16 tank is somewhat related to the PT-91 “Twardy”, because it utilizes an upgraded version of the PT-91/T-72 hull.

However it seems to feature a new welded turret, which is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun manufactured by Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW). While Poland had started the development of a local copy of Rheinmetall’s 120 mm smoothbore design, the gun of the  PT-91 is supposedly manufactured under licence; it has not been revealed whoo is responisble for the gun design and licencing; possibilities include companies from France, Germany, Ukraine or Switzerland. The gun is capable of firing Rheinmetall’s latest 120 mm DM63 APFSDS and DM11 HE rounds. The new turret has to include a new autoloader to load the longer 120  x 570 mm unitary catridges for Rheinmetall’s smoothbore gun design; how exactly this has been solved by the Polish engineers is unknown, but the Anders light tank and the Pl-01 concept tank utilized bustle mounted autoloaders.

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The gun is capable of firing Rheinmetall’s latest 120 mm DM63 APFSDS and DM11 HE rounds. The new turret has to include a new autoloader to load the longer 120  x 570 mm unitary catridges for Rheinmetall’s smoothbore gun design; how exactly this has been solved by the Polish engineers is unknown, but the Anders light tank and the Pl-01 concept tank utilized bustle mounted autoloaders.

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The tank is protected by new modular composite armor. The turret armor is extremely thick and is reminiscent of the AMAP composite armor from the German company IBD Deisenroth as utilized on the Leopard 2 Evolution. IBD Deisenroth has supplied the armor package for the Rosomak-M variant and will deliver the armor for the new Leopard 2PL version. In so far it seems to be possible that IBD delivered the armor for the PT-16. It is understood that there will be some sort of local production of IBD’s armor for the Leopard 2PL; if this is done under licence or with a local subsidairy is not clear at the moment. The hull front seems to be fitted with applique armor modules, but retains a number of classical T-72 features; the integrated hull armor might still be identical to that of the T-72M1/PT-91.

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The tank is fitted with a 1,000 horsepower (hp) engine from a Serbian supplier. Supposedly it can deliver up to 1,100 hp, but has been only rated for 1,000 hp on the tank. The upper side of the hull is protected by applique composite armor panels, while the lower side is protected by rubber skirts.

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The turret is fitted with a remote weapon station (RWS) and a new sensor system. The RWS is armed with a machine gun and might double-act as a commander’s sight. The commander is at least not provided with a separate sight yet and there also appears to be no proper commander’s cupola, but rather a few vision blocks integrated into the turret roof. The sensor system consists of at least two modules, one at each side of the frontal turret. Each module contains three sensor units. These units might be cameras or laser-warning sensors.

 

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