Poland to develop heavy infantry fighting vehicle to support its M1A2 Abrams tanks

Will Poland, on its own, completely neutralize the Russian ground threat in the years to come? In any case, this is the question that we can ask ourselves by observing the ambitions of recruitment, defense programs and acquisition of equipment which have been announced for a year now by Warsaw. Indeed, after announcing the order for 250 American M1A2 SEPv3 heavy tanks in July 2021, the Polish authorities announced the order 32 AW149 helicopters to the Italian Leonardo in June 2022, 3 Mièçznick frigates with the British Babcock as well as 1000 K2 tanks and 672 K9 self-propelled guns in July 2022, from 96 AH-64E Guardian combat helicopters and 48 FA-50 light fighters in September, 2022, from 300 K239 multiple rocket launchers in October 2022, from 2 military observation satellites with France in December 2022, as well as the local construction of 1400 Borsuk amphibious infantry fighting vehicles in February 2023 (in main illustration). There is no doubt that with such an arsenal, the Polish ground armed forces will be the most imposing and powerfully armed in Western Europe, especially since they will be supported by 140 F-35A, F-16 Block 60 and FA -50, supported by about 3 Apache gunships, and protected by a multi-layered anti-aircraft defense consisting of batteries of Patriot PAC-XNUMXs, SPYDERs and a domestically designed SHORAD system.

One might think that Warsaw would stop after this series of announcements, especially since the investments needed to finance these programs already amount to more than 15% of the country's GDP. It is not so. On the one hand, the final decisions regarding the Orka program of Polish attack submarines, in order to replace the only Kilo-class submarine in service and affected by severe insolence, have still not been made . Above all, in an interview given to the Polish News Agency, Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the country's armaments agency, indicated that Warsaw intends to build a new heavy infantry fighting vehicle , not amphibious this time, but much better protected and armed than the Borsuk, to support the M1A2 Abrams tanks, also significantly heavier and better protected than the K2PL Black Panthers of South Korean origin. On the same ratio as the number of Borzuk vis-à-vis the number of K2, we can therefore expect that the Polish authorities will order, in the near future, 350 of these heavy IFVs which will accompany the Abrams.

Although better protected, the Abrams M1A2 is significantly less mobile than the K2 Black Panther, due to its additional 10 tons

Some information about this future armored vehicle was revealed by the Polish site defence24.pl. Thus, it would be designed on the same chassis as that fitted to the K9 Thunder self-propelled gun also acquired by the country, so as to reduce development costs and risks, as well as benefit from a certain convergence in terms of maintenance. for a limited series, even if this chassis was not designed or optimized for the VCI mission. The armor will be significantly heavier than the 28 tons of the Borsuk, but it will probably be less than the 49 tons of the K9 so as to give it greater mobility. We can estimate, on the basis of the MT881Ka-500 engine of 1000 hp equipping the K9, and to obtain a power/weight ratio identical to that of the Borsuk of 25,7 hp per ton, a combat mass of 37 to 39 tons, putting the new VCI in the category of Rheinmetall's KF-41 Lynx. In fact, it could be better protected, with the addition of thicker passive armor and perhaps a hard-kill soft-kill system that we now know is essential for carrying out offensive armored operations against to a symmetrical adversary, but also better armed.

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