Armed Forces

Polish "Iron Division" tests Redback IFV

AS-21 Redback
AS-21 Redback in Poland
Photo. Poland MOD

The "Iron Division" - the 18th Mechanized Division" - of the Polish Armed Forces has begun tests of the AS-21 Redback IFV, offered to the Polish Armed Forces as a complementary vehicle, expected to be operated alongside the Borsuk IFV, announced Minister of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak.

The tests are organized in parallel to the Borsuk IFV test programme - the Polish-developed IFV is to be tested at the 16th Mechanized Division. The Redback tests are to last until late October - they are to include stationary tests, tests on the move, and live fire tests, at night and during the day.

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The assumption is that Borsuk would be commissioned in most of the Polish Divisions, and the 16th Mechanized Division would be the first one. It would also be the first Polish element to receive the new K2 MBTs as well. Meanwhile, the heavy IFV can be implemented to the 18th Mechanized Division, the same unit that is now testing Redback. 18th Division is also slated to receive M1A1 SA and later M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tank (purchased within the urgent operational requirement), so a heavy IFV is an asset considered to be used in cooperation with Abrams tanks.

The information on the Redback IFV tests has been confirmed by Lt. Col.  Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Armament Agency of the Polish MoD. As he stated, the tested configuration features the existing integrated turret system. It cannot be ruled out that the AS-21 in Poland would receive a Polish turret (probably a ZSSW-30). The tests that are underway are aimed at preliminary assessment for the whole platform, and hence the IFV did not undergo any modifications whatsoever.

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Redback IFV is a heavy, well-protected IFV developed by South Korean Hanwha Defense. It has been developed with the use of some experience gained during the amphibious K21 IFV development project (K21 is already serving in ROK Army), but various new technologies have been introduced to the vehicle. It features a 1000-HP engine coupled with hydropneumatic in-arm suspension and it is compatibile with NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture, which allows for easy integration of various subsystems. The combat weight of vehicle is up to 42 tons. The existing variant of the vehicle is equipped with Australian EOS T2000 turret, armed with Bushmaster Mk-44/S gun and a coaxial machine gun (Spike-LR/LR2 ATGM can be launched from the vehicle as well), it also can be integrated with other turret systems. Redback also features an Active Protection System (such as the Elbit Systems Iron Fist, other solutions are an option) and an add-on armor.

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