Armed Forces

Wirus Vehicles Commissioned

Image Credit: 18 DZmech via TWITTER
Image Credit: 18 DZmech via TWITTER

LPU-1 Wirus light reconnaissance vehicles have been recently supplied to a reconnaissance element of the Polish Armed Forces. The vehicles may be spotted on the pictures captured in Kopytowo, where the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence met the soldiers.

The consortium formed by PHO [Polish Defence Holding], and by the Concept company was awarded with an order concerning 118 LPU vehicles, within the framework of the Żmija ["Viper"] programme, back in 2017. The deliveries were to begin around 18 months ago. However, they have been delayed, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The current delivery pertains to the first 25 vehicles received by the 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment based in Hrubieszów, and the 9th Reconnaissance Regiment based in Lidzbark Warmiński. The vehicles would also be delivered to the Poznan Land Forces Training Centre.

LPU-1 Wirus is a light attack vehicle for the SOF/recon units, developed and manufactured by the Concept Sp. z o.o. company. The main assumption behind its design is to make it possible to carry 3 soldiers that would be able to carry out an autonomous recon operation for at least a week. The vehicle's gross weight is 1,700 kilograms, while the payload capacity is defined as 900 kilograms. Wirus, with its 181HP diesel engine, can attain a top speed of 140 kph on the road, and 100 kph offroad.

The vehicle is tailored for railway, sea, road, and air transport (also as an underslung load, under a helicopter). It may also be dropped on a parachute.

The Żmija's bodywork, including the floor, and the rear portion, has been made out of carbon composite. The cabin also features a heating system - crucial in the Polish climate.

The turbocharged 2.4-litre diesel engine has a power output of 132.5 kW/180 HP, with maximum torque of 430 NM. The engine may use diesel or jet fuel. The engine is coupled with a 6-speed gearbox and a differential-lock gearbox, working in one of the four of the following modes: 4×2, 4×4, 4×4 locked, 4×4 reduced gear. The performance meets the requirements: top speed of 140 kph on the hardened road, 100 kph offroad.

The Żmija program is one of the four components of the "Operational patrol reconnaissance" priority programme defined by the 2013-2022 Technical Modernization Plan, and the priority has been extended to the year 2026, in the newly revised Technical Modernization Plan signed by Mariusz Błaszczak in February 2019. The "Operational Patrol Reconnaissance" plan includes the following elements:

  • - ISTAR IT intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination system (for recon, forward, SIGINT, IMINT and HUMINT purposes), also known as "Sowa" [Owl];
  • Reconnaissance vehicles for the forward recon units, also known as "Żmija" [Viper];
  • Light armoured reconnaissance vehicles, also known as "Kleszcz" [Tick];
  • Unmanned reconnaissance vehicles (MBPR), also known as "Tarantula";
  • Automated system for collection, gathering, processing and dissemination of intelligence received from the forward reconnaissance elements, also known as "Pająk" [Spider].