Armed Forces

AWR Reconnaissance Vehicle for Rak - Deployed in Torun

AWR at MSPO 2021. Image Credit: Robert Suchy, Tomasz Głowacki/
AWR at MSPO 2021. Image Credit: Robert Suchy, Tomasz Głowacki/

Artillery and Armament Training Centre based in Torun has just taken delivery of the first AWR artillery reconnaissance vehicle based on the Rosomak APC platform. The reconnaissance vehicle in question is destined to become a part of the Rak fire module. Therefore, the last missing element of the Rak modules has been officially commissioned and is now in service.

Responding to our inquiry, the spokesperson for the Artillery and Armament Training Centre in Torun announced that the aforesaid AWR vehicle was received on 7th October. The spokesperson also confirmed that the Centre has other elements of the Rak fire module at its disposal. The inventory includes three mortars, the AWD command vehicle, AWA ammunition carrier, and the AWRU repair vehicle.

This means that the unit stationed in Toruń [Thorn] - the "artillery capital of Poland" - is the first military element ever that has all of the vehicles forming the Rak fire module element at its disposal. The number of vehicles is lower than in a standard, company-level fire module (with 8 mortars, 4 command vehicles, 3 AWA platforms, AWRU, and two AWR vehicles). Nonetheless, the Centre is perfectly capable of conducting comprehensive training for the Rak crews, and the remaining module personnel.

The vehicle received by the Centre is a prototype of the AWR platform developed throughout the development study, it had, previously, passed the qualification tests programme. The remaining components of the Rak module used by the Centre have been received similarly - with the series manufactured assets commissioned in the artillery units, and prototypes sent to the Torun-based facility. Two out of three mortars delivered in December 2020 however, come from the second series manufactured batch (with the first order placed in 2016, and the second - in 2019). The prototype AWD platform and the first mortar have recently undergone a modification at HSW S.A. Thus, they are fully capable of using the new ammunition.

The next step for AWR is the agreement that would cover the delivery of series manufactured vehicles. It may be expected soon. One should assume that 30 Rosomak-based vehicles would be procured - for the 15 fire modules of the Rak mortars procured by the military (in 2016, 2019, and 2020). Most of the Rak mortars have been delivered already.

Further down the road, one could expect new variants of reconnaissance vehicles to be developed, using other base platforms. These are quite important, as reconnaissance is still an Achilles heel of the Polish artillery component that is being dynamically modernized. A tracked variant of the AWR vehicle (that could potentially be based on the new LPG platform with hydropneumatic suspension) should become a part of the Rak modules that are to be procured in the future. However, above all, these tracked platforms should become a part of the Krab sph elements in particular. Meanwhile, the units operating the Langusta, Dana, and the future Kryl systems, should rather receive wheeled reconnaissance vehicles. Here, the new 4x4 platform offered by HSW S.A. jointly with a Czech partner may be a good option.

The AWR platform features two sensor sets: onboard one (with battlefield radar and optoelectronic sensor on a mast), and portable one (with APDR artillery reconnaissance/rangefinding instrument, featuring a TV camera, thermal imager, laser rangefinder, digital compass, and a goniometer). It is integrated with the Topaz Automated Fire Control System. This means that the intel may be shared automatically - not only with the Rak elements but also with units using other systems that feature the Topaz solution - for instance, Dana or Krab howitzers. The vehicle features a PCO Obra self-protection suite, with smoke grenade dispensers, along with ZM Tarnów ZSMU remote control weapons station.

AWR is one of the most advanced systems of its kind, operated by the Polish military. Currently, the Polish Armed Forces operate a small number of specialist reconnaissance vehicles with modern equipment - such as Rosomak WSRiD, or modified BWR platform. The majority of the reconnaissance elements still operates the obsolete BRDM platform, or the standard Rosomak APCs (as R1/R2 vehicles have not been fielded yet). The WB Group, the supplier of the Topaz system, also proposed to further extend the AWR's capability through integration of its onboard reconnaissance suite with FlyEye or Warmate UAVs - these have been integrated within the Topaz network already.