Those familiar with my writings about the Ministry of National Defense’s Korean programs may have noticed that I warned about the threat of buying IFVs from this country. It was a stupid decision to buy a heavy AS-21 or an extremely stupid floating K-21. Today we know that the AS-21 Redback is already running in the Polish stadium.
The BWP and the Polish cause
The subject of the BWP-1 successor is one of the most embarrassing stories in the Department of National Defense. Although Polish industry has made several reasonable proposals over the past decades, our ministry and military decision-makers have insisted for years that such a vehicle should float. This, of course, caused design complications, it was difficult to create a reasonable machine that would meet all the requirements of the military.
In the end, however, it worked out, HSW created Borsuk, which was just passing the final NBPWP tests, about which I wrote more in one of the articles. So where did the next trip come from? Well, the Ministry of Defense suddenly changed its mind and announced that at least some of these vehicles should be much heavier, which is what the arms industry has been suggesting for years. Therefore, the natural solution in such a situation would be to pay for the Heavy Borsuk project at HSW, which was also proposed by this company.
It is estimated that the Polish army should buy about 1,400 IFVs and vehicles based on it, the heavy ones will amount to about 300. This is a long-term exchange program, so it’s time to develop your own heavier version based on the experience you already have. acquired with ordinary Borsuk. Moreover, the currently presented vehicle, depriving it of buoyancy, can be heavily armored. This is possible due to its modular structure and hydropneumatic suspension.
Buy from an empty shelf
That, however, would be too simple. The Ministry of National Defense thought it would buy additional vehicles from Korea. This, of course, means fewer orders for Borsuk and the logistics complications that our decision makers call “diversification” for lack of recognition. As a result, the AS-21 Redback has already found a Polish test site and is now being tested by the soldiers of the 18th Division.
Some consolation is the fact that there is no K-21 thread at all, but a small one. The AS-21 is currently a late prototype vehicle, has not yet entered production, and is not used by any military, not even the Korean one. Today, the Koreans are with him at the new Australian IFV competition, and that’s it. So, if in the case of K2 and K9 this direction can somehow be explained by its quick availability, here you still have to wait, and we will pay the Koreans for the completion and implementation of R&D.
An additional complication is the fact that the AS-21 has a T2000 turret from the Israeli company Elbit. His products of this type have a bad reputation, are expensive, and our relations with Israel do not promise trouble-free cooperation. Israel’s policy in the context of arming countries in conflict with Russia is also not trusted. The very good ZSSW-30 unmanned turret developed for the Polish IFV could theoretically be integrated, but this would require a redesign of the AS-21 ceiling, extend its prototype status, and require additional qualification tests…
Also controversial is the fact that Redback tests are already being conducted in the unit. It looks like the Badger has to go through a series of complicated and time-consuming qualification tests, and in the context of the Redback, you’re relying on research done in Korea and Australia. I want to remind you that these are countries outside of NATO, in other climate zones, which is at least worrying in the context of a prototype car.
Unfortunately, this may indicate that the decisions regarding its purchase have mostly already been made. What else would be the point of throwing the car into the field tests of ordinary soldiers? Moreover, the polska-zbrojna.pl portal has published an interview with General Gromadzinski, who clearly praises the AS-21. We witnessed a similar PR maneuver when we bought the fake FA-50 fighter (interview with General Pszcola).
Unfortunately, the former commander of the 18th division misses the truth several times, saying that, for example, AS-21 is proven, deployed in the Korean army and available. The general is also surprisingly optimistic about possible logistical problems with spare parts for him in case of war. And these problems may be deeper than expected, if it turns out that Poland is the only user of this car… In this context, it would be better to take the Swedish CV90, which our neighbors are supposed to use as well. But a little better, with the Badger done, we just have to expand our family of cars.
Logic? Makes sense, so we probably won’t do that, but buy hardware off the shelf again. Today is empty.
Photos: MON, Hanhwa