Polish Export MBT

PT-16 prototype MBT from Bumar Labedy. Bumar Labedy.

SHAH ALAM: As there is some interest on the new MBT from Bumar Labedy, posted below are two pictures of the vehicle from the manufacturer’s website. Bumar Labedy as most of you are aware is the manufacturer of our Pendekar or PT-91 MBT.

I am posting the pictures here as I do not want to post comments with links to external websites. There is no plans – AFAIK – to buy these new tanks. Its likely Bumar Labedy came out with this prototype tank with the MSPO exhibition in mind. The four-day exhibition in Warsaw starts from Sept 4.

Posted below are excerpts from the Below The Turret posting on the PT-16. More pictures of the prototype MBT is also available at the site.

PT-16 prototype MBT from Bumar Labedy. Bumar Labedy.
PT-16 prototype MBT from Bumar Labedy. Bumar Labedy.

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.

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.

PT 16 prototype MBT from Bumar Labedy. Bumar Labedy picture.
PT 16 prototype MBT from Bumar Labedy. Bumar Labedy picture.

HT to … and others for the tip on PT-16.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Looks very promising, especially the possibility it has a bustle auto-loader. The rear of the turret and the engine compartment is also protected and there are skirts that extend all the way down to the wheels. It’s interesting to speculate whether it will come with a thermal for both the gunner and the commander or if this is optional. Given Bumar Laberdy’s lack of any orders for the past few years; I’m surprised it had the cash to work on this new design and I won’t be surprised if any follow on work on this design is dependent on orders being received.

  2. If Bumar has a fully functional prototype, lets test it in Malaysia and compare it back to back with the pendekar. If the modernisation gives it a considerable upgrade of capability compared to the pendekar, the army could get it for the 2nd mbt regiment, with the current pendekar being remanufactured/upgraded to similar standards.

    Saw the YouTube video of a few pendekars at almost top speed on jalan parlimen if not mistaken during the merdeka day. Im sure heavier mbts such as leo2 would destroy the tarmac if they speed on the normal road like the pendekars do.

  3. I remember there’s is a request fro ATM for a new tank regiment either upgrade PT91m or others model…

    Will this the response from Bumar Laberty?

    It seem capturing what Ukraine had update on t64 n become oplot

  4. I personally believe that the pt-16 was made with Malaysia in mind.The idea could be to enhance commonality with current platform that we have. I mean both tanks can have similar engine,hull,tracks and gear box while the turret in pt-16 could be totally brand new and different cannon/fcs.

    Again subject to funding availability and final price of pt-16(hope will be ard usd4-5 mil) it could be a good candidate for ramd bd tank regiment.

  5. At the moment we have no idea of internal stuff, like whether the gunner and commander have thermals, if the commander has an overide function, if there’s adequate power supply to add other stuff like an APS and whether it will have a bustle mounted auto-loader but one thing’s for certain [no surprises] it has better all round protection and the new armour package should provide better protection against KE penetrators.

    Bringing the PT-91s to the same standard cold entail a lot of cash and would it really be worth to make the investment, as opposed to going totally new?The engine and gearbox would have to be changed [to compensate for the increased weight]; the carousel auto-loader would have to be ripped out, new thermals would have to be added, etc. Then another question remains : how many countries are likely to buy the PT-16?

    From the picture of the sights on the prototype, I believed are mockups. I could be wrong of course but definitely not a good sign.

  6. ….. – ”Im sure heavier mbts such as leo2 would destroy the tarmac if they speed on the normal road like the pendekars do.”

    Not necessarily but they might if they did a sharp turn. Quite often, rubber pads are placed on tracks.

  7. It’s more about the ground pressure exerted by the tank to the surface of the road than the gross weight of the tank itself, and afaik the tracks used in Pendekar is wider than standard T-72 variant tank

  8. kamal,

    If there’s an increase in weight, the present engine and gearbox might not cope. It’s safe to say that the doing away of the ERA panels and reliance on all round composite armour will result in a weigh increase. Difference in cannon is one thing but we can’t have two tanks with different calibre guns. I have no idea what are the merits of 120mm [i.e. penetrating affects] over 125mm and vice versa but I do know that what can make the difference is the quality of the ammo, not the calibre.

  9. The cost will be high i think. If its true that the armor package is from IBD Deisenroth, the full AMAP armor package and if we includes the AMAP-ADS hard-kill system, it will cost some serious money.

    Not including the stuff that we want to change from the original specs. Thermal sight, fire control system, night vision system, engine, tank tracks & etc.

    On the other hand, it uses 120mm gun. Which means a different set of munitions from our pendekar. From my point of view, if we gonna buy this mbt better decommissioned the pendekar. Might be a nightmare for logistics if we use both 125mm & 120mm.

    Though if both design uses the same hull, then just upgrade the pendekar hull and integrate new turret same as the new mbt. Maybe even the internal layout might be the same as pendekar. If yes, might be an advantage in training.

    If we really don’t want to have the same mbt as our neighbours, this mbt seems like a good candidate.

    Too much info are not released yet. So just many speculation from my side.

  10. As far as technology demonstrator goes, it’s fine, but still not many info yet about the sights, FCS, and armor. Though most probably it will be equipped with L44 gun barrel, which may not be efficient enough to capitalise the muzzle velocity potential of the DM63. I think it’s part of Bumar’s effort to revitalise the company after a string of failed projects (ie: Anders, Krab).

    But still, will there be any takers? Even the prospect of the Polish Land Forces being interested is doubtful, even more so now that the incumbent Defence Minster, Antoni Macierewicz, is a staunch anti-communist, in contrast to Bumar-Labedy which enjoyed strong connections with Poland’s left wing parties and known for their patronage of labour unions, which was a boon for them when Poland’s political landscape was dominated by left-centrist coalitions ever since the start of the Third Republic until their dominance was broken by right wing conservative coalition in 2005. (maybe I’m reading too much into this)

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