According to The Military Balance 2021, the Polish army has 1,252 obsolete, Soviet-era BMP-1s and only 359 modern KTO Rosomak armored personnel carriers, which are licensed versions of the Finnish Patria AMV. Of course, Poland is trying to get rid of the remnants of Soviet times in its armed forces, and replace the BMP-1 with something more modern. Such a replacement should be the Borsuk BMP, developed by a consortium of several Polish companies chaired by Huta Stalowa Wola.
Development of a new infantry fighting vehicle began in October 2014, and the unmanned tureet ZSSW-30 to was being developed even earlier, in the spring of 2013. The first prototype Borsuk was shown in 2017, and in 2019 a new version was demonstrated with some improvements and additional external armor panels. Factory tests took place in 2018, and in 2020 qualification and military tests began. Serial production of Borsuk BMPs should begin in 2023/24. But there is one nuance.
The contract for the production of Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles was planned to be signed in 2022, with 10 battalions of Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles, ie 588 vehicles, which the Polish Ministry of Defense was to receive by 2035. But with the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, they decided to review and order as many as 1,000 new infantry fighting vehicles.. At the same time, disputes over the number of BMPs are still ongoing, and the production budget has not been approved. As for the pace of production, PGZ plans to supply one battalion of BMP Borsuk (58 vehicles) in the first year, and two battalions (116 vehicles) in the coming years. The production of military equipment, especially on such a scale, is a slow process.
As for the design of the Borsuk BMP, this machine uses a modified chassis of Korean K9 ACS, by the way, very popular with gunsmiths around the world. An interesting feature of the BMP is modular armor, which can be used depending on the purpose of the car. The lightest version of the BMP weighing 25 tons is amphibious, the heaviest armored almost like a light tank weighs as much as 40 tons.
The ZSSW-30 unmanned turret is equipped with an automated fire control system from WB Electronics, stabilized optoelectronic heads GOD-1 and GOC-1 made in Poland, infrared and conventional cameras, laser rangefinder, and SSP-1 defense system with eight grenade launchers for masking.
Also in the turret there is 30-mm gun Mk 44S Bushmaster, paired with her 7.62 mm machine gun UKM-2000C. But the most interesting are two launch containers ATGM Spike LR, which, we recall, can destroy enemy tanks at a range of up to 5,500 m.
In general, the way in which Poland is developing its own military production by licensing equipment or joining forces with NATO partners deserves respect. For example, recently at Eurosatory 2022, the Polish defense company PGZ and the Korean Hyundai Rot signed an agreement to create a localized version of the Korean K2 tank. The agreement provides for the transfer of technology and deep localization of the machine with its subsequent release in Poland.
And this is not an isolated event. At the Eurosatory 2022 they announced the purchase of Kormoran II trawlers from Gdańsk Remontowa Shipbuilding, ZSSW turrets for Rosomak armored personnel carriers, Italian helicopters AgustaWestland AW149, two reconnaissance satellites (!) from France, as well as fighter tanks with missiles Brimstone by Ottokar-Brzoza.
And in addition… Looking at the events of 2022, Poland has decided to form two new all-military divisions, which will be stationed along the Vistula River in the central region of the country. As of now, the Polish Army has one armored division and three mechanized divisions plus separate brigades. A total of 62,000 soldiers. After the formation of two new divisions, the number of servicemen of the Land Forces will reach more than 80,000.
Borsuk BMP specifications
Weight – 25 tons
Weight (with additional armor) – 40 tons
Length – 7.5 m
Width – 3.5 m
Height – 2.7 m
Crew – 3 people
Landing – 7-8 people
Weapons – 30 mm gun, ATGM Spike LR, 7,62 mm machine guns
Engine – diesel
Power – 800 hp
Maximum speed (road) – 70 km / h
Speed (water) – 8 km / h
Power reserve – 600 km
Gradient – 60%
Lateral slope – 30%
Vertical barrier – 0.7 m
Trench – 2 m
Fording – 1.2 m