Armed Forces

CV90 chassis for “Borsuk”. BAE Systems’ proposal for Poland

  • Fot. Polska Agencja Kosmiczna /
    Fot. Polska Agencja Kosmiczna /

The British Embassy in Warsaw hosted a seminar “Vision of Polish Land Forces – opportunities and threats.” Part of the event was a presentation of proposal by BAE Systems, which is offering the Polish Armed Forces CV90 chassis for the future infantry fighting vehicle “Borsuk”.

The seminar called  “Vision of Polish Land Forces – opportunities and threats” took place in a conference room of the British Embassy. The Swedish Embassy was a co-organizer. The Land Forces modernization programmes, especially the new infantry fighting vehicle “Borsuk”, were the main reason for organization of the event which was attended by British and Swedish ambassadors, Polish Army representatives, Polish Armaments Group and BAE Systems. Under the “Borsuk” project BAE Systems would want to sell Poland chassis of the CV90 vehicles.  

The seminar started with the speeches of the British Ambassador Robin Barnett and Swedish Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom, who pointed to the new security threats, which occurred in 2014, especially in relations with the Ukrainian crisis. Both ambassadors stressed the need to develop defence co-operation with our country. The subject of bi-lateral army co-operation was further developed by Col. Claes Nilsson, Swedish Defence Attaché, in relation to the possible growth of co-operation in the area of defence between Poland and Sweden in 2015.  

The main goal of the seminar was to present BAE Systems company and its vision for the development of combat vehicles, based on its experience in e.g. the CV90 programme. As the company’s representatives argue, manufactured in the number of 1000, in future the vehicle could become the basis of a new Polish infantry fighting vehicle to be developed under the “Borsuk” programme.

In line with the representatives of the manufacturer arguments, thanks to the flexibility of the project and usage of modular platform, a number of vehicles ranging from the IFV through medical evacuation vehicle up to C4ISR one, all based on the CV90. At the same time BAE Systems emphasises that it could deliver only the chassis to the Polish market, which could then be equipped for various missions by companies who are part of the Polish Armaments Group. 

According to Dan Lindell, Platform Manager responsible for the CV-90 programme, experience points to the need to opt for one of the two approaches when it comes to procurement combat vehicles.  Firstly, one can buy a fleet of different, highly specialized vehicles, however, in this case a very large defence budget is needed. A second option is to acquire a base platform, which could be adjusted to various missions. In order to do so, one needs to purchase a large number, and obtain a chassis which could easily be integrated with systems manufactured by other companies.

As BAE Systems representatives point out, the CV90 is an evolving platform, following the experiences collected in various contemporary military conflicts. The manufacturer is also analysing the engagement of combat vehicles in the hybrid war which is currently taking place in the Ukraine. At the seminar, Warrant Officer Jakob Wittendorf  of Dutch Armed Forces shared the experience of the CV90 operation in Afghanistan. He put the stress on high mobility of the vehicles capable to do missions in wet, muddy terrain, the high resistance to fire and IEDs weighing up to 15 kg.

In the case of the Polish tender, combining the amphibiousity requirement with high survivability on the modern combat theatres for the Polish new IFV was questionable to some of the seminar participants. This assumption, which the Polish Armament Inspectorate keeps, generates the necessity to reach compromises at the cost of other capabilities of the “Borsuk” (especially that as it has been pointed at that more than 90 percent of the rivers in Poland are up to 4-5 metres deep, which opens the way to crossing them on the bottom like in the case of main battle tanks).

BAE Systems’ engineers have declared that they can deliver a platform that meets the Polish Army’s requirements, including amphibiousity. What yet needs to be settled is the practicality of the swimming IFV in a situation where other combat systems such as tanks or artillery do not have such advanced capabilities in crossing water obstacles. The company’s representatives largely focused on the chassis proposal, and suggested it is in line with the vision of a universal modular tracked platform for the Polish Army. The share of the Polish industry in the “Borsuk” programme was discussed by both the speakers and the invited guests.

Andrzej Hładij