Armed Forces

No Assault Bridges for the Polish Leopard Tanks?

  • Płk Piotr Suszyński (drugi od prawej). Fot. P. Tracz/KPRM

The Armament Inspectorate has concluded a tender regarding the Daglezja mobile bridges on wheel- and track-based chassis. These are the only folding bridges in the inventory of the Polish Army, that may be used by the Leopard 2A5 and future Leopard 2A4PL tanks, weight of which is to exceed 60 tons. The MS-20 Daglezja wheeled-chassis are to be delivered by a consortium formed by the OBRUM and Bumar-Łabędy companies, and when it comes to the track-chassis-based MG-20 Daglezja-G assault bridges, the tender has been cancelled.

Tenders related to delivery of these designs have been announced in October last year. Both the wheeled MS-20 Daglezja, as well as track-chassis-based MG-20 Daglezja-GP bridge, have been developed by the Gliwice-based OBRUM cocmpany. The Polish Army has received, back in 2012,  two MS-20 bridges, and only a single prototype of the MG-20 model has been manufactured.

PM-20 bridge arch is the basic element utilized by both designs, and it makes it possible to cross obstacles with 20 metre width for the track-based vehicles with mass of up to 63.5 tonnes (MLC70 class) or wheeled vehicles weighing up to 73 tonnes (MLC110 class). That means that the Daglezja bridges are the only solution that may be currently be used by the currently used Polish Leopard 2A5 and future Leopard 2A4PL tanks. PM-20 bridge’s width is adjustable, within the range of 3-4 meters – total length of the main section, along with the ramps, is  25,5 metres, and total weight is as much as 15 tonnes.

The bridge element, in case of the MS-20 bridge, is based on a trailer, which is attached to the Jelcz C662D.43 vehicle. When it comes to the assault variant,  MG-20, which is to be used to create bridges in combat conditions,  T-72 tank chassis with one added wheel has been used.  Its mass is as much as 55 tonnes.

According to the information released by the Armament Inspectorate, the proceedings related to the deliveries of 10 MS-20 wheeled-chassis bridges have resulted in selection of Gliwice-based consortium, consisting of Obrum and Bumar-Łabędy companies, as the main contractor. Seven vehicles should be delivered during the year 2015, the remaining three shall be received in 2016. One offer has been placed in the bid, and it has been accepted.

When it comes to the tender related to the track chassis MG-20 Daglezja-G bridges, its scope included realization of the implementation works,  including production of 2 examples. All works shall be completed by November 2016,  and series production should be possible to be started then. The Polish Army needs ca. 30 vehicles of this type, which would accompany the Leopard 2 tanks in combat conditions, in any terrain. Their armour and terrain abilities would be similar to the tank abilities, thus the MG-20 bridges would be appropriate to go over many obstacles.

The procedures related to the track-chassis assault bridges has been cancelled on 18th February 2015 by the Armament Inspectorate, without stating any reasons. Hence, introduction of proper self-propelled bridges for the Leopard 2 tanks has been delayed, and operational prospects for the new Polish tanks are thus limited. The issue of technical support vehicle, which would be capable of towing Leopard 2A5 and Leopard 2A4PL tanks in the future also remains unsolved.