The Polish government’s intent to acquire Borsuk (Badger) Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) was confirmed on 28 February 2023 with deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Blasczak’s signing of a contract to buy 1400 vehicles.
The Borsuk has been in development since 2014 by a consortium of Polish companies led by Huta Stalowa Wola. The objective was to provide a domestically produced modern IFV to replace the Soviet era BWP-1, a Polish version of the BMP. The new acquisition quantity substantially increases earlier plans for fielding beginning in 2035 approximately 588 Borsuk vehicles reflecting a reassessment following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Borsuk IFV demonstrator was first displayed in 2017. Army trials beginning in 2020 have progressed to ongoing operational evaluations. The Borsuk IFV is expected to have a combat weight of 28 tonnes and be amphibious capable with two waterjets. It is powered by an MTU 8V199TE20 diesel engine and Perkins X300 transmission providing 720 bhp (530kW). It uses a hydro-pneumatic suspension and Soucy Defence composite rubber track (CRT). This Universal Modular Tracked Platform (UMTP) will be utilized with various mission variants. The IFV has a crew of three (commander, gunner, driver) plus six-dismounts.
A Polish designed and developed remotely-controlled ZSSW-30 weapon station is used on the Borsuk. The station has a roof-mounted panoramic hunter-killer sight and multi-sensor main optics including 3d Generation Thermal Imaging. This fire control system provided by WSB Group is net-centric both within the vehicle and to exchange data with outside systems like other vehicles and drones. Main armament is the MK-44S 30mm auto-cannon with a coaxial 7.62 mm UKM-2000C machinegun. A launch pod for two Spike-LR anti-tank guided missiles are on the turret right side. Official data on protection reflects chassis STANAG 4569 level IV frontal ballistic protection and level III from the sides and rear as well as level IIIa and IIlb against mine blasts. However, a modular armour approach had been proposed which would allow levels to be adjusted based on requirements. An Obra-3 threat laser detection system consists of four detector sets and control unit which is linked to the vehicle’s eight smoke grenade dischargers has also been viewed on prototypes.
The contract reflects 1000 IFVs plus four-hundred other mission variants employing the UMTP. The contract value is estimated to be around US$10 Billion. Variants include command, Zuk reconnaissance, Gotem MEDEVAC, and Gekon recovery models.
First IFV deliveries are anticipated in 2024. The Ministry also announced that HSW has been approved to develop a “heavy” IFV that will utilize the base platform of the Krab a Polish self-propelled howitzer that uses the South Korean Hanwha K-9 Thunder chassis and the ZSSW-30 turret. This IFV will be the primary equipment for the 1st Armoured Brigade of the 18th Mechanized Division which will receive the M1A2 Abrams MBTs.
by Stephen W. Miller