Szczecin [Stettin] based 12th Mechanized Brigade has received a batch of Rak self-propelled mortars. The above means that the 12th Brigade would become the second element of the Polish Armed Forces, following its sister unit based in the Greater Poland region, equipped with the modern mortar platforms based on the Rosomak APC.
According to the information provided to us by Cpt. Marcel Podhorodecki hailing from the 12th Mechanized Division, the unit has received eight Rak self-propelled mortars and four command vehicles, delivered from the HSW S.A. company. Currently, process of introducing the mortars into service is in progress. It is to last a couple of days. This is because the soldiers need to verify the completeness and correctness of operation of the mortar-mounted equipment. Once the handing-off procedure is finalized, Rak fire unit will become a part of the inventory package used by a support company of one of the battalions operating the Rosomak APCs.
Rak self-propelled mortars are being introduced to replace the obsolete 120 mm towed mortar solution. The agreement signed by and between the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence and the consortium formed by the HSW S.A. and Rosomak S.A. companies, on delivery of the elements of the first eight fire modules, has been concluded in April last year, in the presence of the Polish PM, Beata Szydło. The value of the agreement exceeds PLN 968 million.
The agreement mentioned above covers acquisition of 64 mortars and 32 artillery command vehicles, referred to, within the Polish nomenclature, as the AWD. The remaining elements of the fire modules including artillery ammunition vehicles (AWA) or artillery reconnaissance platforms (AWR), as well as the artillery armoured recovery vehicles (AWRU) are to be acquired during the subsequent stage of the programme.
The AWR was originally planned to be based on the 4×4 Żubr vehicle. Unfortunately, the qualification test programme ended up with a negative result. We know that the reconnaissance platform is to be ultimately based on the Rosomak APC. Not only would such solution ensure better offroad capabilities and provide more comfort for the crews, as a greater degree of unification of the fire modules would be achieved.
In this way, the units would include only two base platforms: Rosomak APC (mortar itself, AWD and AWR vehicles) and Jelcz (ammunition and repair vehicles). Deliveries concerning 64 mortars and 32 command platforms are expected to be finalized by the end of 2019. In a longer run, it cannot be ruled out that the Polish Armed Forces decide on ordering more “fire modules”, especially involving the mortars based on a tracked platform, probably unified with the future Polish IFV.