MRAPs for Poland
Forecast International reports that an Aug 20/08 land mine attack that killed 3 Polish soldiers in their Hummer is causing the same kind of rethink that other advanced armies have been experiencing.
In response, reports in the Polish press indicate that Poland is seeking an emergency buy of 40 MRAP vehicles, with deliveries to conclude before the end of 2008. The contenders are reported to be BAE OMC’s RG-31 Mk5E extended version, Force Protection’s Cougar, or KMW’s Dingo 2. This early buy is expected to be followed by a follow-on tender for 140 vehicles, using more standard tender procedures.
Now, an article in the Polish press hints that the competition may have been pre-empted by a leasing arrangement.
Force Protection’s Cougar is in widespread use by the US military, and its vehicles were the catalyst for the US military’s 15,000+ vehicle MRAP program, though it has fallen to 3rd place now after Navistar and BAE Systems. Its Cougar vehicles are also used by the British, Canadian, and Yemeni militaries, and a variant serves with the Iraqi military as the Badger.
Germany was an early adopter of mine-protected vehicles within the NATO alliance, and KMW’s Dingo vehicles are playing a growing role in its future force. The Dingo-2 has also been featured in a number of international competitions, losing some but picking up wins in neighboring Austria (20), Belgium (352), The Czech Republic (4, facing issues including delivery delays), and Luxembourg (48).
The RG-31 was designed in South Africa, which pioneered mine-resistant vehicles several decades ago. It has been deployed by the UN, Canada, the Netherlands (on loan from Canada), and the US military, who considers it their favored MRAP vehicle for Afghanistan. Spain has also ordered RG-31s, but has yet to take delivery.
Contracts and Key Events
Aug 19/09: Amidst an equipment controversy that would lead the Polish chief of land forces’ to resign in protest, reports surface concerning a “billion zloty” package (about $350 million) that would include the intended Polish MRAP competition for up to 60 vehicles, 2 medium-range UAV systems, ad up to 5 helicopters that would “probably” be more Mi-17s, bringing the Polish Mi-17 fleet to 11. Polskie Radio.
Sept 30/08: Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza’s report “Polish Soldiers in Unwanted Vehicles” that Poland has selected Force Protection’s Cougar as a lease from the American military, with the first 30 to begin delivery in October 2008. Robert Rochowicz, a spokesman for Poland’s Ministry of Defence, is quoted as saying that “The Cougars will be delivered by US Army to a location of our choice.”
The move reportedly suspends Poland’s own MRAP buy for about a year, and the selection has caused some controversy in Polish military circles concerning its suitability for Afghanistan.
Aug 25/08: Forecast International reports that Poland is beginning an MRAP competition.