Armed Forces

Ukrainian Armoured Personnel Carriers with Polish Night Vision Systems

  • Fot. SOCAR

PCO S.A. has signed an agreement with the Ukrinmash company belonging to the Ukrainian Ukroboronprom group. The said contract concerns the procurement of observation and targeting instruments for the Ukrainian combat vehicles. “-Not only is provision of support for our Ukrainian partner a declaration of a political nature, it also translates into a complete involvement of the Polish Ministry of Defence, along with the defence industry, when it comes to equipping the Ukrainian Armed Forces with the latest military equipment” - as it was stated by Bartosz Kownacki, Deputy Minister of Defence of Poland, present on site. 

The agreement, the value of which has not been disclosed concerns procurement of 32 device packages, with those devices utilized in case of observation and targeting systems of the military vehicles. The equipment would be utilized in several initiatives, including modernization of the BMP-1 IFVs, MT-LB carriers and wheeled BTR and BRDM platforms. The conclusion of the agreement is related to implementation of a contract by the Zhytomyr Armoured Plant, pursued for the Ukrainian MoD, with that contract covering the modernization of vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Not only is the support provided to our Ukrainian partner a political gesture, as it also translated into actual involvement seen on the part of the Polish Ministry of Defence, along with the domestic defence industry, within the scope of equipping the Ukrainian Army with the latest military equipment, matching the top Western standards.

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

Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki, stated that collaboration with the Ukrainian industry, in practical terms, translates into a formation of a context in which the Ukrainian Army receives the “latest military equipment, matching the top Western standards”. The activities undertaken by the company were being supported by the MoD, in case of Kiev, both the government, as well as the industry, were involved in the initiative. 

The agreement signed yesterday constitutes a peculiar first step along the way to modernization of the optronic systems utilized in case of the Ukrainian combat vehicles. PCO is also willing to create a centre for upgrades of combat vehicle optoelectronics in Ukraine, making use of the expertise remaining at hand in that field.

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

According to Member of the Management Board and Director of Commerce at PCO S.A., Paweł Glica, the contract is an effect of two-years long collaboration that has been preceded by tests and demonstrations organized in Ukraine, also within the field ranges. Glica stressed that solely the PCO-provided optoelectronics have been proven in field use and are properly certified and authorized to be used by the Ukrainian Army. Director Glica additionally noted that equipping the aforesaid vehicles with Polish night vision systems would make it possible to effectively carry out operations at night, without giving away own positions, which is often associated to use of the old generation active night vision solution. “This plays an unprecedented role in battlefield conditions” - as it was noted by Glica. 

The equipment contracted is going to be installed on the IFVs and APCs, however, PCO has also developed modification kits for the main battle tanks, including T-72. The said kits also feature thermal vision systems. One of the basic conclusions drawn from the Ukrainian crisis is that combat vehicles should be fitted with modern systems facilitating night combat. For example, the T-72B3 main battle tanks of Russia, which underwent an in-depth modernization, were far more capable of fighting at night than the Ukrainian, upgraded, T-64BM Bulat vehicles.

During the tests carried out in the Ukraine, on the test ranges, for the purpose of certifying the military equipment by the Centre for Standardization and Certification of the Ukrainian MoD, a major increase of operational capabilities has been exhibited in case of the platforms that were, before the test, fitted with the Polish targeting and observation systems. Thus, a wider cooperation is planned, within the scope of modernization and equipment supplies, both for the Ukrainian Forces, as well as for the potential foreign customers. This also includes creation of a centre for modernization of combat vehicle optronics in Ukraine. 

Paweł Glica noted that the hardware designed for the armoured units is just a small portion of the PCO’s interest in the Ukrainian market. Besides the above, PNL-3M NVG system has also been successfully supplied to Ukraine. Beyond that, the Polish company is also willing to offer cooperation within the scope of glass cockpits for the Mi-8/17 helicopters. Finally, PCO would also like to offer individual soldier optronics and integrated optoelectronic modules for T-72 and T-64 main battle tanks for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.