Polish Army to Modernize the BMP-1 IFV

Image Credit: 15th “Giżycka” Mechanized Brigade
Image Credit: 15th “Giżycka” Mechanized Brigade

The Armament Inspectorate has launched a market analysis regarding the upgrade of the BWP-1 (BMP-1) IFV platform operated by the Polish mechanized battalions.

The Armament Inspectorate has launched a market analysis concerning the modernization of a mechanized battalion module equipped with the BWP-1 vehicle. Krzysztof Płatek, the spokesman for the Armament Inspectorate, confirmed that the programme of BWP-1 upgrade for mechanized battalions is a part of the Technical Modernization Plan.

Thus, the analysis is the first step towards the implementation of that programme. Major Płatek did stress that the market analysis pertains to the possibility and the conditions that would need to be met to modernize a single battalion. Nonetheless, the programme could potentially concern a greater number of military elements.

So far, no details have been unveiled when it comes to modernization. The specific nature of the upgrades is only to be clearly defined after the analytical-conceptual phase comes to completion. The announcement reads that the market analysis is aimed at assessment of the ability to meet the preliminary requirements and to estimate the time and expenditure required to introduce the modernized IFVs. Other aspects to be scrutinized include the lifecycle cost and the assessment of the advancement of the offered solutions, their advantages, and disadvantages (with extra attention paid to the research and tests, as well as the foreign experiences. Finally, risk analysis is also to take place, concerning the process.

“It is a priority of the Polish Armed Forces to replace the BWP-1 platform with a new, amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle, also known as Borsuk. Not only does this project have a relevant significance for the capabilities of the Land Forces, but also the Polish Armed Forces as a whole. Modernization of some of the BWP-1 vehicles is also being considered, within the scope of armament, communications, and the power supply system” - this is the answer that the MoD gave us back in July.

In practical terms, the launch of the analytical-conceptual phase at the Armament Inspectorate may be viewed as proof that the Polish Ministry of Defence has already decided on the direction of the upgrades. The BWP-1 upgrade is a gap-filler solution, as the BWP-1 platform is going to be replaced by the Borsuk IFV and, partially, Rosomak APCs fitted with the ZSSW-30 turret. Nonetheless, the upgrade is necessary, as saturating all of the mechanized battalions with new platforms (Borsuk IFV in particular) would be a long process, probably lasting beyond the year 2030. BWP-1, once the turret is replaced with a new system featuring a 30 mm gun and ATGM launcher and a proper set of electronics, could still exhibit a significant combat potential.

The work schedule has not been disclosed as of yet, however, considering the timeline required to accomplish the analytical-conceptual phase and the further steps, one could assume that the programme would be launched around 2022 - this is when the agreement conclusion could be potentially expected.