Company fire module - eight 120 mm self-propelled Rak mortars and four artillery command vehicles, all based on the Rosomak APC platform - was received on Monday by the 5th Highland Battalion of the Polish Military, based in Przemyśl. The battalion is one of the elements of the newly formed 18th Mechanized Division. The process of forming the Division proceeds as planned – Div. Gen. Jarosław Gromadziński reported to Mariusz Błaszczak, the current head of the MoD.
This is the second Rak module received by the Rzeszów-based 21st Highland Brigade. The first unit of the type has been handed off in August, for use by the 1st Battalion. The aforesaid element is stationed exactly where the brigade command is based.
The 21st Highland Brigade, together with the Warsaw-Wesoła 1st Armoured Brigade and the 19th Mechanized Brigade based in Lublin (in the making now) are to form the 18th Mechanized Division in the future, the staff of which is being established in Siedlce.It is the 18th Division to which the speech made by the head of the MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, visiting Przemyśl last Monday, mainly was referring to. The Minister was stating that there’s a need to reinforce the defence potential East of the Vistula river and that the unit must rapidly reach the readiness status.
By creating the 18th Division we are rectifying the mistake of 2011, the disbanding and liquidation the Tadeusz Kościuszko “Warszawska” 1st Mechanized Division.
The MoD announced it via its Twitter account that Div. Gen. Jarosław Gromadziński stated that the command of the 18th Division would achieve readiness to work with the subordinated units (21st Highland Brigade and 1st Armoured Battalion) by the end of 2019. The forming process proceeds correctly – said the General, as quoted by the MoD.
Meanwhile the commander of the 21st Highland Brigade, Brig. General Ryszard Pietras, reported the readiness of the Brigade’s soldiers (the brigade is an independent unit now) to become a part of the 18th Mechanized Division.
The Minister also emphasized the fact that Rak mortars have been designed and manufactured in Poland. They are being manufactured at the HSW facility in Stalowa Wola. The platform offers a capability of acting against targets at distances of 8-12 kilometers. Rak, as one of a few mortars, may also act against its targets through direct fire. The system exhibits a high degree of automaton in the command/fire control department, also featuring an autoloader. Rak mortar is capable of firing its rounds at a rate of fire of 6 to 8 rounds per minute. It takes 30 seconds for the mortar to assume combat setting, while it takes only 15 seconds to leave the firing position, following the last shot. The Polish Ministry of Defence also announced that so far the mortars were firing their rounds with their barrels at the angles above 45 degrees.
Rak mortars are also operated by the 17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade based in Międzyrzecz and by the 12th Mechanized Brigade, based in Szczecin. Being a part of the 12th Brigade, Raks took part in a live fire event during the Anakonda 18 exercise.