The ceremony during which the conclusion of the framework agreement concerning the tank destroyers took place involved the Deputy PM/Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Armament Agency col. Artur Kuptel, and President of the PGZ Group, Sebastian Chwałek. The agreement concerning the implementation of the Ottokar-Brzoza programme launched in 2019 covers the procurement of battery-level tank destroyer fire modules. The Armament Agency, and the PGZ-OTTOKAR consortium are the parties to the above agreement. The consortium is formed by: Huta Stalowa Wola, Mesko, and Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne.
According to the Armament Agency, the programme is also aimed at establishing domestic industrial potential covering the whole lifecycle of the system, including manufacturing, deliveries, maintenance, and upgrades. One should stress that the scope within which the new know-how would be established, shall also include the manufacturing of advanced anti-tank weapons.
The tank destroyer would be armed with MBDA UK Brimstone ATGMs. It is unclear, as of now, which of the Polish businesses would handle the manufacturing of the missile. It is known, however, that a 4x4 armored vehicle offered jointly by HSW S.A. and Autosan, and Tatra Export s.r.o. would be the base platform. Ottokar-Brzoza's primary mission would be to destroy enemy armour with the use of ATGMs, in any weather conditions, at night, and during the day.
The Ottokar-Brzoza modules would include tank destroyers, support vehicles, ATGMs, and training and logistics-support packages. Detailed configuration of the individual components shall be specified once performance contracts are signed. Nonetheless, it is assumed that tank destroyers, command vehicles, and reconnaissance vehicles would be delivered by the Polish defence industry provided 4x4 platform, while the mobile components would utilize JELCZ platforms.
After he approved the agreement, Błaszczak said that the delivery of tank destroyers is a very important undertaking that would significantly bolster the potential of the Polish Armed Forces. The Minister announced the first examples are expected to be ready next year. They would be received by the 14th Anti-Tank Regiment stationed in the Suwałki-Gap area. The first batteries would achieve operational readiness in 3 years at the latest, but it cannot be ruled out that the 14th ATR would receive the equipment at a faster pace. The tank destroyers would be tested at their destination units.
"Our assumption is to saturate the Polish Armed Forces with units as such. Each division would include anti-tank regiments. Our goal is to get the first batteries to operational readiness in the upcoming three years. I think this is a deadline that can be met even quicker. I think that it would take just two years, for the anti-tank regiment in Suwałki, to achieve operational readiness", said Błaszczak. Sebastian Chwałek, meanwhile, placed a major emphasis on the role of the Suwałki Gap, and the significant importance for defence efforts in Poland, of the 14th Anti-Armour Regiment He added that the PGZ Group would go to great lengths to meet the Błaszczak's expectations when it comes to earlier deliveries.
Each of the batteries would include eight tank-destroyer platforms. One salvo would consist of 8 Brimstone ATGMs. They offer a range of 12 kilometers. The battery, apart from the tank destroyers, would also include 1 command vehicle for the battery commander, 2 command vehicles for the platoon commanders, 2 ammunition carriers, 2 artillery reconnaissance vehicles, 2 MEDEVAC platforms, 1 universal mobile containerized repair workshop for the base platforms, and 1 universal mobile containerized armament and electronics workshop platform. Hence, as the Minister suggested, the units would be ready to face the challenges of the contemporary battlespace. Błaszczak added that the events unfolding in Ukraine have been a factor shaping the Ottokar-Brzoza programme, accelerating the process in which the Polish Armed Forces are receiving the anti-tank assets.
Written by: Polish Press Agency PAP/Armament Agency/Defence24