MSPO 2019 : New Borsuk IFV to replace Polish land Forces BMP/BWP-1

The Borsuk armoured, a program to replace the Polish Land Forces' BMP/BWP-1 family represents a significant long-term commitment on the part of the Ministry of National Defense and the Polish government.

MSPO 2019 New Polish Borsuk IFV to replace Polish land Forces BMP BWP 1
The new amphibious Borsuk equipped with a remote-controlled turret system (30mm) (Picture source Army Recognition)

A number of the military's previous efforts in this sphere, ranging from the BWP-2000 program in the 1990s to the abortive OBRUM-led project of the early 2010s, ultimately faltered due to a mixture of developmental shortcomings, procedural gridlock, and imposing financial projections.

However, the fairly smooth evolution of the Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) Borsuk IFV program and the highly successful licensed production of vehicles such as the 8x8 Rosomak IFV indicate growing confidence on the part of the Polish defence industry in its ability to implement armoured vehicle projects on a large scale.

The Borsuk program is not without potential challenges. For example, the reported funding levels allocated toward program development are fairly low by international standards. Given the extant funding limitations of the Polish military and its track record of aborted IFV projects, it is not beyond the realm possibility that the program could eventually languish in its final stages of development in the event that economic or political events alter Polish spending priorities. In addition, press reports indicate that some ambiguities remain regarding the final performance specifications desired by the Polish Land Forces, which could delay the program's maturation to the serial-production phase if left unresolved.

Nevertheless, recent Polish defence documents indicate that the government considers the program of high value. In the latest iterations of its Technical Modernization Plans, the Polish Ministry of National Defense has outlined a long-term requirement for the acquisition of 1,600 new-build tracked armoured vehicles. Of this figure, at least 800 vehicles are to serve as mainline IFVs, with the remainder configured to perform a wide range of secondary roles.

Open-source reporting and contractor statements indicate that the vehicle has been undergoing trials and testing throughout 2018-2019. These trials include tests of baseline mobility and drive performance, amphibious capability, and ballistic protection. Initial reports indicate that the Borsuk prototypes have performed satisfactorily in these tests, suggesting that the program is on schedule to enter the final testing phase in 2021 and enter serial-production in 2022.

The new amphibious Borsuk is equipped with a remote-controlled turret system (30mm). This turret is designed to combat, destroy and suppress light and heavy armoured targets and another object, including enemy's infrastructure in different climate conditions and to provide fire support for units during combat activities, irrespective of the time of the day.