12 businesses submitted their proposals in the technical dialogue, concerning the Polish BWP-1 modernization efforts. The potential participants include the PGZ Group, specifically the WZM S.A. facility specializing in the domain, as well as a number of Polish manufacturers of military electronics, armament distributors, and foreign companies.
Responding to our inquiry, the spokesman for the Armament Inspectorate, Major Krzysztof Płatek, stated that 12 entities in total have submitted dialogue inclusion requests:
Alongside the WZM facility that usually deals with the BWP upgrades (as a PGZ Group company), several other entities are involved in the dialogue. These include the Works 11 company (distributing a myriad of armament systems developed abroad, with autonomous manufacturing potential), Teldat (offering electronics and BMS systems), several intermediary entities (Griffin Group, Siltec, or Pol-Mot Rail), or foreign businesses. The foreign entities - Kongsberg, Leonardo, Rafael, or CMI Defence/John Cockerill Defence - probably offer either the comprehensive turret systems or some pieces of equipment. The Israeli company for instance could be offering the Spike ATGM, nonetheless, the offer may be much broader. Rafael used to deliver complete turrets for modernization of BWP-1 vehicles and similar platforms - in Romania, for instance.
The Armament Inspectorate would qualify the entities that submitted the requests and it is going to continue the procedure, involving the companies that the Polish defence procurement organ approved for the further stage of the proceedings. The dialogue documentation would then be utilized to prepare and carry out the whole procurement. Considering the time required to carry out analysis and the procedures, the agreement conclusion shall be expected in 2022, at the earliest. Formally, the dialogue pertains to the conditions and feasibility of implementation of works on a “battalion module equipped with upgraded BWP-1 IFVs”. Nonetheless, the programme in question, which is also a part of the Technical Modernization Plan, could involve several units as such.
Back in July, the Polish Ministry of Defence told us that “It is a priority of the Polish Armed Forces to replace the BWP-1 platform with a new, amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle, also known as Borsuk. Not only does this project have a relevant significance for the capabilities of the Land Forces, but also the Polish Armed Forces as a whole.
Modernization of some of the BWP-1 vehicles is also being considered, within the scope of armament, communications, and the power supply system.”
In practical terms, the launch of the analytical-conceptual phase at the Armament Inspectorate may be viewed as proof that the Polish Ministry of Defence has already decided on the direction of the upgrades. The BWP-1 upgrade is a gap-filler solution, as the BWP-1 platform is going to be replaced by the Borsuk IFV and, partially, Rosomak APCs fitted with the ZSSW-30 turret. Nonetheless, the upgrade is necessary, as saturating all of the mechanized battalions with new platforms (Borsuk IFV in particular) would be a long process, probably lasting beyond the year 2030. BWP-1, once the turret is replaced with a new system featuring a 30 mm gun and ATGM launcher and a proper set of electronics, could still exhibit a significant combat potential. Probably, the current procedure would be followed by modernization as such. However, the details have not been disclosed, while the thorough terms of reference would only be available after the analytical-conceptual phase comes to completion (and the dialogue is a part of that phase), and after the results of that phase are taken into the account.