Bumar Labedy PT-91 Twardy

Notes: The Twardy (which can be roughly translated as "hard," or "tough," or "resilient") is a Polish modernization of the T-72M1, with the upgrade package designed by OBRUM and manufacturing done by Bumar Labedy. (The Twardy was originally to be called the Wilk, or "wolf," but after initial design work on the PT-91 was cancelled then restarted, the name was changed.) Like many countries of the former Warsaw Pact, Poland found itself with a large number of former Soviet designed vehicles and no Soviets any more to provide upgrades or new designs. And like many former Warsaw Pact countries, they designed their own upgrade packages. Design work on the Twardy began in 1988, but work progressed slowly, while the Polish government debated whether to buy the T-72S or T-80 from the Ukrainians. However, the Twardy entered service in 1995.

PT-91 Twardy

Chief among the improvements to the Twardy is the armor package. The Twardy incorporates up-to-date composite armor on its frontal arc, and spaced laminated armor to its side arcs. Lugs for the Polish-designed Erawa ERA are found on the glacis, turret front, turret sides, hull sides, and the forward part of the turret roof. The Erawa ERA system is an improvement over most countriesí ERA systems (most notably Russian ERA); the ERA blocks have virtually no gaps between them, while those of the T-72M1 are up to 15mm apart in some places. Erawa blocks are also backed only by steel instead of the steel-rubber combination of the T-72M1ís ERA package. Erawa is also 2nd generation ERA as opposed to the 1st-generation ERA used on most Russian and Chinese-based vehicles. Side skirts were also more heavily armored. The main gun ammunition is contained in armored bins, and the interior has an automatic explosion/fire detection and suppression system. The Twardy is normally painted in a special radar-absorbent paint.

The second problem addressed was the fire control system and gun stabilization, both of which were deemed obsolete. The stabilization was fully modernized, and augmented by a fully-modern ballistic computer and laser designator. The gun stabilization was designed in Slovakia and is produced under license, while the Drawa fire control system is Polish, but designed with help from the Israelis. The gunnerís night vision package is integrated into the gunsight, with the gunner having thermal imaging and image intensification along with telescopic backups monitors for the gunner displaying pertinent information. The commander has his own night vision and gunsight for the main gun, but can also access the gunnerís thermal imager and gunsight. The commander also has a monitor, but it displays information about the overall state of the Twardy, amount of ammunition on board, etc, and also tells the commander when fire at a contemplated target will be ineffective due to tank motion, intervening trees, and suchlike. The commander can also use his night vision and another gunsight for use with his NSVT machinegun while under armor. The driver can replace his front-most vision block with an IR vision block. The driver is in the center front hull, and he has his own monitor displaying information on the automotive components of the Twardy.

The Twardy has an astounding 12 grenade launchers on each side of the turret; 6 on each side of these are angled upwards and used for screening smoke, while 6 are angled slightly downward and can be used for smoke grenades or special AP canister-type grenades (treat as a Claymore mine, but with a spray angle of only 30 degrees), or fragmentation grenades. The main gun is the same 2A46 gun as on the T-72 series, fed by an autoloader as is standard on the 2A46. The Twardy has a laser warning system to tell the crew if they are being scanned with targeting lasers, and automatically launches smoke grenades to block the beam.

All of this upgrading meant that the T-72M1ís engine was no longer adequate. PZL-Wola in Poland developed the S-12U diesel engine, a modernized version of the T-72M1ís V-46-6. Though the higher 850-horsepower output cut the range of the Twardy, the increased performance was deemed a worthwhile trade-off.

Minor upgrades, primarily having to do with reliability, have resulted in the PT-91M (not to be confused with the PT-91M Pendekar Malaysian variant) and the PT-91MA1. A PT-91 upgrade with a 1000-horsepower S-1000 turbocharged diesel exists; though it was to be called the PT-91A, this designation was applied only to the development versions and the more powerful engine is merely being applied as an upgrade with no special designation. This engine is not only more powerful, it is lighter than the S-12U. I have called this the PT-91A below to provide some differentiation. This upgrade is rather rare.

PT-91Ex Twardy

The PT-91Ex grew out of the PT-91Z Hardy and the PT-91E, both of which resulted in the PT-91M Pendekar that was sold to Malaysia. As a result, the PT-91Ex is very similar to the PT-91M Pendekar, though technologically more advanced. The PT-91Ex is equipped with a French-designed Savan-15 fire control system that offers more advanced ballistic computers. The powerpack is similar to that of the PT-91A, an S-1000R with a fully automatic transmission. A new communication system has been installed. The weapons have been changed to a more advanced 125mm 2A46MS gun with an FN MAG coaxial and an M-2HB commanderís machinegun. The PT-91Ex has a GPS system with an inertial navigation backup.

Other improvements includes slightly heavier armor, an updated laser warning system, more advanced Erawa-3 2nd generation ERA, German-designed Wegmann grenade launchers on either side of the turret (same capabilities), and German-designed tracks. The PT-91Ex gives the commander has his own sensor head that gives the tank a hunter-killer capability. The PT-91Ex has a Battlefield Management System as is present on many of the more modern tanks; this allows the PT-91Ex to keep track of friendly and enemy units, receive and transmit situation information, and send and receive updated orders and requirements. The PT-91Ex has a 2kW APU for use in silent watch operations, and an NBC overpressure system.

PT-91M Pendekar

The PT-91M was designed specifically as a variant for export to Malaysia, who bought 48 of them between 2007-2008. It is very similar to the PT-91Ex Ė sort of a PT-91Ex minus a few features. The PT-91M uses a French-designed SAGEM Savan-15 fire control system and a SAGEM-designed stabilization system. The PT-91M uses a German Renk/SESM automatic transmission which has better gear ratios than the original PT-91, similar to that of the PT-91Ex. The radios used are designed by Malaysia. Instead of GPS, the PT-91M has only the inertial navigation system, and the sophisticated Battlefield Management System installed on the PT-91Ex is not used on the PT-91M.

Twilight 2000 Notes: The PT-91Ex and PT-91M Pendekar do not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline (the sale to Malaysia was never made, in fact). The PT-91 itself is a bit rare in the Twilight 2000 timeline; only 98 were built, and only 10 PT-91As were built (with most PT-91As being used as command vehicles).

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

PT-91

$566,658

D, A

500 kg

45.9 tons

3

26

Thermal Imaging (G), Passive IR (D, C), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

PT-91A

$567,958

D, A

500 kg

45.3 kg

3

26

Thermal Imaging (G), Passive IR (D, C), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

PT-91Ex

$982,347

D, A

500 kg

47.5 tons

3

28

Thermal Imaging (G,C), Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

PT-91M

$582,793

D, A

500 kg

46.9 tons

3

24

Thermal Imaging (G,C), Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

PT-91

127/89

29/20

1000+400

351

Trtd

T6

TF119Cp TS28Sp TR16 HF149Cp HS20Sp HR10

PT-91A

147/103

34/23

1000+400

522

Trtd

T6

TF119Cp TS28Sp TR16 HF149Cp HS20Sp HR10

PT-91Ex/PT-91M

140/98

32/22

1000+400

547

Trtd

T6

TF124Cp TS28Sp TR16 HF156Cp HS21Sp HR11

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

PT-91/PT-91A

+3

Good

125mm 2A46 gun, PKT, NSVT (C)

42x125mm, 2000x7.62mm, 300x12.7mm

PT-91Ex/PT-91M

+4

Good

125mm 2A46MS gun, MAG, M-2HB (C)

42x125mm, 2000x7.62mm, 300x .50