Armed Forces

Poland Procures ARVs for the Leopard 2 MBT Units: Two Potential Suppliers

WZT-2 ARV. Image Credit: mł. chor. Marek Mazur
WZT-2 ARV. Image Credit: mł. chor. Marek Mazur

According to the information provided to us by the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence, two entities have submitted requests concerning the procurement programme aimed at the acquisition of two ARVs, dubbed Kajman. 

The requests for inclusion in the aforesaid procurement programme needed to be submitted before 28th September (after the original date was changed from 30th August). Only the following entities have submitted their proposals:

  • Consortium formed by: Rheinmetall Defence Polska Sp. z o.o. (RDP) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH (RLS),
  • Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft mbH (FFG).

Most probably the entities listed above would offer vehicles coming out of their portfolios: Wisent 2 (FFG) and Bergepanzer 3 (Rheinmetall). Both platforms are based on the Leopard 2 MBT.

The procurement procedure in question has been launched on 25th June 2020. It pertains to the acquisition of 29 Kajman ARVs. 37 vehicles could potentially be procured in the future, should the ordering party decide to exercise the right of option. The Armament Inspectorate was to allow no more than 5 entities to participate in the procedure, organized in line with the Public Procurement Law. The delivery deadline has been set in November 2035.

Wisent 2. Image Credit: FFG

The Kajman [Cayman] ARV is to be an armoured, tracked platform that would accompany MBTs and other tracked assets as well.

The new ARV is to be able to recover vehicles weighing more than 63 tonnes. This means that it would be tasked with supporting Leopard 2PL and Leopard 2A5 MBTs and the future MBTs of similar weight, as well as the 155 mm Krab howitzers and other tracked platforms.

The Polish military operates three ARV types currently. The Kajman platform is to replace the WZT-2 ARV based on the T-55 MBT (forming the bulk of the Polish military’s ARV inventory) and the newer WZT-3 vehicles based on the T-72 MBT, as well as the Bergepanzer 2 vehicles based on the Leopard 1 platform. The latter vehicles are to be modernized. The negotiation concerning that matter is being carried out with the involvement of a consortium led by the PGZ Group, also involving the ZM Bumar-Łabędy S.A. and WZM S.A. entities. The platform offered is based on the Polonized Wisent 1 technology.

Bergepanzer 3 Büffel. Image: Combat Camera Europe

The introduction of the Krab sph, procurement of a second lot of the Leopard MBTs, and potential requirement to support the allied assets deployed to Poland altogether create an increased demand for a modern ARV capable of supporting the heavier armour.  Furthermore, the replacement of the legacy WZT-2 is becoming increasingly more urgent.

25-30 million zlotys is the estimated cost associated with a conversion of a single MBT into an ARV. Considering that the procurement, in its basic form, concerns 29 platforms and that a requirement would also emerge to create a logistics support system and acquire base vehicles for conversion, the cost of the Kajman program could exceed PLN 1 billion or even 2 billion, should the right of option be exercised to the fullest possible extent. Thus, the programme is both relevant, as well as a costly element of modernization of the armoured component.