Hanwha Defense’s Redback AS-21 next-generation infantry fighting vehicle is undergoing field evaluation by the Polish Army.
The conduct of this demonstration in Poland, which was raised in early September and began in mid-October, was confirmed by both an announcement by Hanwha and a statement by Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. The latter stated that although “the domestically made Borsuk fighting vehicle is a priority, the country needs to diversify its supplies and replace the outdated IFVs (the BMP-1) as soon as possible.” He later added, ““When choosing weapons, we follow the voice of experienced soldiers”.
The Redback is being evaluated by the 19th Mechanized Brigade located in the eastern part of the country.
Poland’s Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) developed and will manufacture the Borsuk (Badger) tracked IFV as a replacement for the over 1100 BMPs currently in service. Based on the Hanwha K9 Self Propelled Gun chassis its initial versions include waterjet swim capability, which limits its weight to around 25 tons and possible armour protection. It has a polish developed ZSSW-30 remote turret with a 30mm auto-cannon and Spike ATGMs and hunter-killer sights and fire controls.
Around June 2022 the military considering lessons in Ukraine began consideration of a “heavy IFV” with higher protection levels. It has been suggested that the Hanwha Redback could meet this “heavy” requirement and be fielded with the Army armour units receiving the US M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks.
Redback, which is also being evaluated in Australia, is 42 tonnes with modular composite armour defeating up to 30mm. Armament is the 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster and Spike LG2 ATGMs while it has a crew of three plus eight dismounts. Panoramic sights and advanced situational awareness includes helmet linked displays. Hanwha is offering Redback with its remote turret or with the Polish developed ZSSW-30.
Should the Polish MOD determine that Redback meets its needs it could possibility be procured under the same Framework Contract signed in July 2022, which covered the supply of K9-PL self-propelled howitzers and K2-PL main battle tanks. Hanwha has already signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Poland’s PGZ industry to include local content and possible technology transfer.
by Stephen W. Miller