The Polish and Czech governments are joining forces to procure a new armoured troop carrier (ATC) for the Polish armed forces, according to Polish daily Gazeta Polska Codziennie, which reports Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki as saying this is one of the priority procurement programmes that Warsaw will launch in the upcoming months.
The Polish government is currently discussing the programme with Czech authorities, Kownacki says. According to first drafts of the project, Poland would have the leading role with the Czech Republic playing a supporting one. The Polish defence ministry has neither revealed a budget for the programme nor the number of vehicles sought.
There has been a precedent for collaboration on an ATC with the OT-64 developed in 1959 by Poland and Czechoslovakia, as it was then, which had a successful export career. The defence industries of both countries have a solid background in military vehicles. Since 2013 the Polish company Wojskowe Zakłady Mechaniczne (WZM) produces under licence a variant of Patria’s AMV, known in Poland as the KTO Rosomak. The Czech Republic also has an historic experience in armoured vehicles with companies such as Tatra or Excalibur Army which is manufacturing 20 Pandur II ATCs for the Czech Army in collaboration with Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Although it seems clear that there will be a Czech industrial partner in the new Polish project, there have been no hints as to whether Prague would also eventually buy the new ATC.
As both the Rosomak and the Pandur II are wheeled vehicles it seems legitimate to wonder about the design of the new vehicle. The perceived “threat from the east” is doubtless part of the reason for the launch of the new programme, the two countries likely finding that the vehicles they have are too “weak” in case of a conventional war. Poland could then be thinking along the lines of previous projects, such as the WBP Anders and PL 01 main battle tanks, to produce a somewhat more “imposing” troop carrier.