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MSPO 2018: Latest BORSUK on Display

Development Complete by 2021, Series Production from 2022

Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) focused on its flagship programme during MSPO 2018 in Kielce – the BORSUK (BADGER) infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).

Intended as a replacement for the ageing Soviet-era BMP-1 (of which Poland has upwards of 1,000 still in service), up to 800 BORSUKs may be procured for the IFV role, with a further 800 specialised vehicles potentially required, according to the company. One of the most critical modernisation programmes for the Polish Army, the BORSUK programme was launched in 2013 with HSW leading a consortium of companies that includes: OBRUM; Rosomak SA; Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne (WZE); Wojskowe Zakłądy Inżynieryjne (WZI); Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne (WZM); Akademia Obrony Narodowej (AON); Wojskwoa Akademia Techniczna (WAT); Wojskowy Instytut Techniki Pancernej i Samochodowej (WITPiS); and Politechnika Warszawska (PW). The original schedule called for work to be completed by late October 2019.

The vehicle will most likely be armed with a 30mm gun initially, potentially to be replaced with a 40mm in the future, and SPIKE-LR anti-tank missiles in the ZSSW-30 remotely-controlled turret. Plans call for BORSUK to fording capabilities, to have high manoeuvrability and to be able to operate in a variety of terrain and weather conditions. The baseline version has a target weight of 25t, while Polish industry expects to develop a heavier (35t) non-amphibious version with better ballistic protection. However, no details regarding the latter variant have yet been released.

The first model, the so-called ‘pre-prototype,’ debuted last year but the current version is more mature and advanced. The version presented during MSPO 2018 integrated the ZSSW-30 weapon station, which is under development by two Polish companies – WB Electronics and HSW. The first model of the ZSSW-30 was unveiled during MSPO 2014 and features the Orbital-ATK Mk44 BUSHMASTER II 30mm cannon and two Rafael SPIKE-LR anti-tank missiles installed on the right side, with an SSP-1 OBRA-3 Laser Warning System. Steel tracks were replaced by elastomeric tracks, which are lighter, quieter and less damaging. It is anticipated that BORSUK will be equipped with active protection, with the pertinent system from a foreign supplier, such as IMI or Rafael. However, this option might be abandoned due to its high cost.

It was also confirmed that BORSUK has already passed initial amphibious and ballistic (including IED) tests, including resistance to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The former were carried out at WZI’s facilities in Dęblin in July without the ZSSW-30 or additional side armour fitted. Currently, HSW has two prototypes of the ZSSW-30 – one is being integrated on the tracked BORSUK and the other on the wheeled ROSOMAK armoured personnel carrier. The official plan is for qualification works to be accomplished by June 2020, all developmental work completed by late 2021 and everything in place for serial production to begin in early 2022. Given HSW’s production capabilities and Poland’s financial constraints, it is likely that the Polish Army will receive up to 50 vehicles annually.

Robert Czulda





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