Land Forces

Polish Abrams MBTs Gain a River-Crossing Capability: A Grand Contract for the Engineering Units

Photo. Armament Agency

The Armament Agency has signed an agreement on the procurement of pontoon bridge sets, within the framework of the Daglezja-P programme. The bridge sets would allow the Polish M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 MBTs to cross the rivers.

Framework agreement within the aforesaid scope has been signed with the French CNIM (Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée) Systèmes Industriels company and concerns PFM pontoon bridge sets for the engineering units. The contract assumes that the Armament Agency would procure pontoon bridge packages by the end of 2026, at a price of up to PLN 1.5 bn. (approx EUR 320 million), whereas a single example would come at a gross price of PLN 115 million. The contract also includes a training package, documentation, granting of a license, delivery of spares, and consumables, along with repair kits.

In practical terms, the above means that there is an option to procure up to 13 sets within the said budget, that would replace the obsolete PP-64 Wstęga bridges, dating back to the 1960s. The Wstęga bridge sets were being put into use extensively in recent years. Not only did it happen during exercises, but also involving the NATO forces, but also in the course of natural disaster response operations and during crises - also when the Czajka wastewater treatment plant in Warsaw malfunctioned in 2019 and 2020.

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The Daglezja-P procurement has been organized as a competitive tender, and it was launched in 2020. This was the second procurement procedure concerning that equipment. The first one, which had been launched in 2019, was canceled. Two final offers underwent the assessment:

One placed by a consortium formed by H.Cegielski-Poznań S.A., CEFA SAS, and PGZ, with the price (being the assessment criterion) of PLN 950.5 million (gross), and another, submitted by CNIM - with a price of PLN 699 million (gross).

PFM system ferry.
Photo. CNIM

The engineering units would thus receive the PFM system of Pontoon Bridge Sets, also known as Motorized Floating Bridge. These make it possible to build pontoon bridges that can be up to 100 meters long. They can also serve in a ferry role, with MLC 70 payload capacity for tracked vehicles, and MLC 96 capacity for the wheeled vehicles. The Armament Agency stresses that the equipment would make it possible for the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams MBTs to cross rivers on their own, or if transported by trucks. Notably, the modern pontoon bridges are highly automated, with the deployment time being shortened. The operation would also probably require fewer people than Wstęga did.

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A single pontoon bridge set shall include the following elements: 12 transport vehicles - Jelcz tractors and a trailer, 1 Jelcz passenger truck, 8 pontoon blocks with engines, 4 ramps, and equipment, tools, and systems required for building, maintaining, and operating the bridge.

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The Daglezja-P contract is one of the most significant procurements made for the engineering component since Poland has become a NATO member state. In the last two decades, that component was mainly receiving counter-mine and counter-IED systems, for foreign deployments. Some exceptions also happened, including the MS-20 Daglezja-S mobile bridges, or the implementation lot of the MS-40 folding bridges.

Currently, further, relevant reinforcement of the engineering component may be expected, suitable for high-intensity conflicts - pontoon bridge sets procurement being a relevant example here.

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