Polish BMP-1 Upgrade Programme Goes Forward. 3 Bidders Remaining

Image Credit: 16th “Pomorska” Mechanized Division
Image Credit: 16th “Pomorska” Mechanized Division

According to information released by the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD, 3 out of 12 bidders have been selected to work on the BWP-1 (BMP-1) IFV upgrade programme, throughout the technical dialogue procedure that had been launched. The 3 businesses selected are capable of performing the work as required. The modernization of the vehicles that are still in active service (around 1,000 of them) would cover the weapons, C2 suite and the electrical power supply.

Within the framework of the market analysis conducted by the Armament Inspectorate, concerning the BWP-1 platform upgrade task, preliminary qualification of participants has been carried out, based on comprehensive declarations on the capacity to carry out a complex upgrade of the IFVs. The final qualification would be executed based on the responses provided, covering the detailed information on functional-technical requirements - among the entities listed below: 1. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. 2. CMI Defence Polska Sp. z o.o. 3. Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. [PGZ Group], along with Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne S.A. [WZM S.A. - Military Automotive Works]

Mjr Krzysztof Płatek, Press officer at the Armament Inspectorate

As the above release suggests, 75% of the 12 entities submitting their requests in the technical dialogue have been rejected. The three strongest and most attractive offers are still being considered in the process. The Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems company offers both turret systems, as well as the Spike ATGMs. A myriad of manned and unmanned systems by this company has been integrated on a wide range of vehicles - BMP-1/2 platforms included. John Cockerill Defence is another entity with a rich portfolio of modular turret systems for wheeled and tracked platforms.

PGZ Group [Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A.] is the last bidder, along with its WZM facility based in Poznan. For years now, these entities have been working on overhauls of the BWP-1 IFVs and BWR-1S/BWR-1R reconnaissance vehicles. The latter platforms underwent an in-depth modification recently in Poznan, with the upgrades similar to the ones defined for the BWP-1 platform (with specific reconnaissance systems being taken into account obviously), apart from the armament. The latter matter may be resolved via collaboration with the PGZ, for instance by employing solutions recently presented by HSW. Other weapons suppliers may also get involved and cooperate with the Group, to deliver a proper solution.

Narrowing down the number of proposals considered shows that key matters and requirements for the BWP-1 upgrade have been well specified. This is a positive symptom that could suggest that the transition between the development of the prototype and the actual agreement may come to completion rapidly. The requirement is quite a burning issue, as the Polish BWP-1 IFVs have not undergone any upgrade programmes since they were commissioned, thus their capabilities do not meet the requirements of the contemporary battlespace adequately. Nonetheless, the upgrade is just a gap filler solution that could remain in place until the BWP-1 is entirely replaced by the Borsuk IFV. This, however, could take up to several years, starting from the moment when the series manufacturing begins.