As previously indicated the Polish government signed a framework agreement on 28 February with Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) for the production and development of 1,400 Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in numerous variants. The programme, which has a value of more than EUR 10 Bn, is the Polish defence industry’s largest project in 50 years, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. It is one of a number of projects entrusted to HSW.
There will be two basic versions of the Borsuk IFV: a light version, which is now in the final testing phase with the Polish Land Forces; and a heavy version, the development of which is about to begin.
The current light version is intended, among other things, to equip the units of the 16th Pomeranian Infantry Division (16th Pomorska Dywizja Piechoty), where the IFVs will be deployed together with the South Korean K2 main battle tanks (MBTs) ordered by Poland.
Błaszczak highlighted the ZSSW-30 remote-controlled turret system developed by HSW and WB Electronics as a very important element of the Borsuk. The AFV’s main weapon, a 30 mm Mk 44S Bushmaster II automatic cannon, accommodates five different types of round, including programmable ammunition. In addition to a modified UKM-2000C 7.62 mm machine gun as a coaxial secondary armament, a twin launcher for Spike LR anti-tank missiles is also integrated onto the turret.
The heavy version of the Borsuk will feature a chassis derived from a K9 MBT chassis built under licence by HSW but will have the same turret as the light variant. It can thus be concluded that, while the light Borsuk has been designed to be amphibious, the heavier Borsuk will not be. The heavy Bosuks are to be deployed with the 18th Infantry Division (18th Dywizja Piechoty) in combination with US-supplied M1A2 Abrams MBTs. The first M1A2s have already arrived at the 1st Armoured Brigade (1 Warszawska Brygada Pancerna), which belongs to the 18th Division. The brigade’s two tank battalions are currently equipped with Leopard 2A5s.
According to the Polish procurement agency, the initial prototypes of the light Borsuk will be handed over to the Land Forces in mid-2023, with the first series-production vehicles expected around late 2024/early 2025.
No timetable has yet been announced for the development and production of the heavy variant.