Responding to our inquiry, the spokesman for the Armament Agency Krzysztof Płatek stated that “In line with the schedule remaining in force for the Development programme pursued by the National Centre for Research and Development, the qualification tests of the prototype of the New Amphibious IFV known as BORSUK would commence after the completion and settlement of the current stage, within which the contractor is carrying out preliminary (factory) tests - and this should happen in late June this year”.
The information provided by Płatek suggests that the factory tests of the Borsuk vehicle, which have been going on for quite some time now, shall be finalized and summarized by the end of June. Another step would come in a form of state-managed qualification tests. The finalization of that stage, and drafting of documentation for series manufacturing, would altogether make it possible to complete the development work and negotiate and conclude an agreement regarding deliveries of the series-manufactured Borsuk IFVs.
The new, amphibious Borsuk IFV, has been brought to life via a development programme launched by the National Centre for Research and Development, and pursued by a consortium led by HSW. The works on the new vehicle have been going on since 2014. Last year a prototype of the Borsuk vehicle was presented during the Dragon-21 exercise. It was also announced that negotiation is in progress, on the manufacturing of another four Borsuk IFVs, before completion of the development study. This would accelerate the qualification tests programme and thus result in earlier commissioning of the new IFV platform.
The Borsuk IFV fuses a new, Polish tracked platform with the ZSSW-30 turret fitted with a 30 mm Bushmaster II Mk 44/S gun, Spike-LR ATGM launcher, and 7.62 mm machine gun, all controlled by an advanced fire control system. The ZSSW turrets developed jointly by HSW and WB Electronics would be first integrated on the Rosomak APC. Currently, negotiation is underway on the delivery of the first lot for those wheeled carriers.
Borsuk, in the base variant, weighs 25 tonnes, thus the vehicle retains amphibious capabilities in line with the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces. The design of the Borsuk IFV also assumes that the armor may be reinforced, at the expense of weight, and loss of the amphibious nature. The vehicle is powered by a power pack developed at WZM Poznan, fitted with an MTU 8V199 TE20 engine (maximum power output of 530 kW/720 HP), integrated with an Allison/Caterpillar X300 automatic transmission (four forward gears, two reverse gears, hydraulic turning mechanism).
According to the schedule released during the last year’s edition of the Defence24 DAY conference, 588 Borsuk IFVs are expected to be procured by 2035, and they are to become a part of the inventory of 10 mechanized battalions, provided that the current structure of the military is retained. The Borsuk IFV is also offered to Slovakia, in the nation’s new IFV tender. Comparing it to the currently operated BWP-1 vehicles that are to be replaced, Borsuk is a couple of generations ahead, when it comes to its sensor suite, firepower, ergonomics, and upgrade possibilities.
At the same time, Poland has made plans to modernize some of its BWP-1 platforms to ensure that relevant capabilities are available before Borsuk is fielded. The BWP-1 platforms operated now, in several around 1,000 examples, do not differ - apart from the optronics or communications - from the vehicles originally introduced into service back in 1973. BWP-1 (BMP-1) has gone through its baptism of fire in the same year, during the Yom Kippur war.