Polish Army Takes Delivery of the Rak Mortars

17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade has officially received the elements of the first company-level fire unit including the 120 mm “Rak” (Crayfish) self-propelled mortar, based on a wheeled platform. And thus, the unit became the first element that has the artillery assets based on the Rosomak APC within its inventory. Rak system has been designed for provision of direct support at the battalion level.

Handing off the first elements of the company fire module utilizing the Rak self-propelled mortar, based on a wheeled platform, for active service translates into initiation of deliveries of the self-propelled, Rosomak-based mortars for the regular units of the Polish Army. This bears quite a significant meaning, since the aforesaid assets would become a part of the support elements of the motorized battalions, also utilizing the Rosomak platform. After the new mortars are introduced into the inventory, meaningful improvement of the combat potential would be achieved. 

Rak Kownacki
Image Credit: Polish Armaments Group

Bartosz Kownacki, Deputy Minister of Defence, attending the ceremony taking place in Międzyrzecz, recalled the fact that Rak mortars are being delivered to the 17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade on the date when the said unit celebrates its 21st Anniversary. Earlier on, the unit had, as the first one in the Polish Army, received the wheeled Rosomak APC. The very same platform has been used as a base for the new self-propelled mortar system.

Today is a special day - the twenty-first anniversary, and [we are giving] a special present, coming in a form of the equipment which is being handed-off today. Company-level RAK fire module is the most modern equipment in the world. This is a proof that the Polish Army is changing, undergoes modernization, getting the best equipment available. Thanks to the above, all of us, the whole Poland, may feel safe.

Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki.

Further down the road, 120 mm Rak self-propelled mortars will be introduced into the structure of mechanized battalions, once the system is integrated with the prospective Polish tracked IFV. Following the official taking over of the system by the 17th Brigade, Rak is yet another new generation artillery asset created at the HSW S.A. facility in collaboration with other domestic entities, introduced into the inventory of the Polish Armed Forces. Let us recall the fact that Krab SPHs on a new chassis are already being transferred to the Polish Army. Alongside the aforesaid systems, Kryl howitzer is currently being developed.

On the other hand, in case of the Homar rocket artillery programme, the consortium performing the work is being led by the Polish Armaments Group, whereas HSW acts as the main contractor. According to the recent declarations made by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the decision concerning the selection of a foreign partner for the Homar programme may be made during the upcoming months. Even though howitzers and future rocket launchers will probably be placed at the tactical level (brigade or division), or higher, the mortars will be subordinated directly under the individual battalions.

Image Credit: Lance Corp. Łukasz Kermel, Pvt. Patryk Szymaniec

The agreement signed by and between the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence and the consortium formed by the HSW S.A. and Rosomak S.A. companies, has been concluded in April last year, in the presence of the Polish PM, Beata Szydło. The value of the contract is close to PLN 1 billion (more than 968 million zlotys), whereas the subject of the order includes deliveries of the elements of the company-level “Rak” fire units for the Polish Armed Forces. Each of 8 modules is to include 8 120 mm self propelled Rak mortars, along with command, ammunition and reconnaissance vehicles. 

The contract that has been signed in April last year also includes execution of the handing-off test programme involving the elements included within the first company-level “Rak” fire module, training for the soldiers, and provision of the series manufacturing technical documentation.

During the event held at the base where the 17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade is stationed, eight 120 mm Rak self-propelled mortars and four artillery command vehicles were received. Before that, the individual elements of the company-level Rak mortar module had passed all of the tests meeting the requirements requested by the Polish military. 

The event during which the elements of the company-level 120 mm “Rak” wheeled self-propelled mortar module were delivered, involved the following persons: Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki; General Commander of the Polish Armed Forces, General Jarosław Mika; Operational Commander of the Polish Armed Forces, General Sławomir Wojciechowski; Director of the Armed Forces Authority Department of the National Security Bureau, Brigade General Jarosław Kraszewski; Head of the Armament Inspectorate, Col. Dariusz Pluta; Director of the Armament Policy Department at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Col. Karol Dymanowski; President of the Management Board at the Polish Armaments Group, Błażej Wojnicz; and President of the Management Board of the HSW S.A. company, Bernard Cichocki.

Image Credit: Lance Corp. Łukasz Kermel

The basic component of each of the company-level fire module is formed by 8 examples of the 120 mm “Rak” self-propelled mortar. The 120 mm self-propelled mortar system has been designed to strike the adversary with self-indirect, indirect and straight forward fire, including targets such as mechanized elements, command posts, observation-command posts, fortified areas. The system offers rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute at ranges of up to 10 kilometers.

The mortar has been fitted with, e.g. TALIN+GPS navigation system, onboard computer with a fire control system based on the solutions of the Topaz suite delivered by WB Electronics, automatic mortar targeting system, intercom and external communications system, laser warning receiver, 360 degrees observation system, smoke grenade launchers. Besides the 120 mm mortar, the vehicle has also been armed with a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun.

HSW S.A. offers two variants of the 120 mm self-propelled mortar system, one based on the wheeled Rosomak APC chassis, and the other based on a tracked platform. The main export directions for this product, listed by the Polish Armaments Group, include Slovenia, Belgium, Mexico, Peru and Kazakhstan.