WARSAW, Poland — In a major push to modernize the Polish land forces’ tracked vehicle fleet, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak today signed a deal with a consortium led by Huta Stalowa Wola, a subsidiary of Poland’s defense giant PGZ, to acquire some 1,400 Borsuk (Badger) infantry fighting vehicles.
“The approval of our contract, the framework contract to order 1,400 Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles for the needs of the Polish military was described by one of the online news services as the largest project of the Polish defense industry in 50 years,” Błaszczak said at the official signing ceremony.
The government is expected to announce pricing information once individual task orders are negotiated with suppliers.
Błaszczak said the military will get the first four vehicles by the end of this year.
The Borsuk is fitted with a ZSSW-30 turret armed with a Mk44 Bushmaster II S 30 mm chain gun. The vehicle also carries a UKM-2000C 7.62 mm machine gun, among other weaponry, according to data from the Polish Ministry of National Defence.
The forthcoming procurement will enable the country’s military to replace its fleet of outdated BWP-1 vehicles, a variant of the Soviet-designed BMP-1. The move comes as Poland is intensifying efforts to replace Warsaw Pact-era gear with new weapons and equipment in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine.
On the battlefield, the new IFVs are expected to closely cooperate with the South Korean K2 Black Panther tanks Warsaw ordered for the nation’s armed forces last year. In total, the Polish Army is to receive some 1,000 tanks, of which 180 units will be produced by Hyundai Rotem in South Korea, and a further 820 tanks in the K2PL variant are to be jointly manufactured by the two countries’ defense industries. The first batch of the ordered K2s was delivered to Poland in late 2022.
In addition to South Korean tanks, in the coming years, Poland also intends to base its modern tank fleet on U.S. M1A2 Abrams. Huta Stalowa Wola will lead the industry efforts to develop a second IFV model, which will be heavier than the 28-ton Borsuk, that is specifically meant to cooperate with those tanks, according to Błaszczak.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.