WARSAW ($1=4.43 Polish Zlotys) — During the seminar on Polish-Korean cooperation in the field of the defense industry, a representative of the Hanwha concern presented the PL21 car, i.e. variant of the AS21 heavy infantry fighting vehicle offered to Poland.
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The machine should be equipped with the Polish ZSSW-30 unmanned turret instead of a manned turret. So it will be a different vehicle from the AS21 Redback tested by the 18th Division, a vehicle developed for Australia.
“As part of the PL-21 infantry fighting vehicle program, we are offering our heavy infantry fighting vehicle solution with the Polish ZSSW-30 turret. It will be a combination of Polish and Korean technologies that Hanwha is developing together with HSW, and the integration will take place in Poland” announced Mr. Billy Buhuang, an official representative of Hanwha.
The AS21/PL21 unmanned turret machine, contrary to media reports, will not be built from scratch. The hull will be based on solutions developed for the American version, not the Australian version, which was delivered for the so-called tests in the 18th Division. It is about the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program, i.e. the successor to the M2/M3 Bradley vehicles for the US Army, in which Oshkosh Defense offers a vehicle based on the AS21 chassis with an unmanned turret. He is one of the “finalists” of this program who has advanced to the third of the five phases of the program.
“The AS21 Redback is a vehicle developed according to the requirements of Australia with a manned turret. But as part of the second phase of the US Infantry Future Fighting Vehicle program, we are developing an OMFV with an unmanned turret together with Oshkosh. The Polski PL21 is a Polish solution, based on Korean technology and technical and manufacturing capabilities,” Mr. Billy Buhuan also said.
The representative of the Hanwha concern emphasized not only the planned extensive cooperation with the Polish side but also other advantages of the PL21, including, among others, high compatibility with the chassis of the Krab and K9 howitzers, which is ordered for the Ground Forces. We are talking about such key elements as the engine, the power transmission system, the suspension, and the steering system.
This solution aims to significantly improve service processes and reduce operating costs, but it will also speed up production and may increase the participation of the Polish industry in this project. The importance of the Polish part of the work on the project and the possibility of wide adaptation to the user’s requirements were repeatedly emphasized. The question remains how to combine such extensive Polonization and customization with a short delivery time, which, according to the Ministry of National Defense, is one of the advantages of this solution.
It is worth noting that the Hanwha concern offers cooperation not only in the field of introducing PL21 infantry fighting vehicles in the Polish army but also in the further development of platforms of this type. It is a new generation BMP currently being designed, equipped with a hybrid drive, and armed with a 40 mm automatic cannon.
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