POLISH AND CZECH
ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLES
Poland and Czechoslovakia have enjoyed a long standing mutual defense treaty dating back to the mid-21st century. One aspect of this close alliance is a tendency, beginning in the 22nd century and continuing to the present for the two nations to pool their resources in the field of military research and development. Though Poland and Czechoslovakia were both initially quite dependent on imported French military equipment (particularly aircraft and AFVs), but nations regarded the redevelopment of national military industries as a vital aspect of post-Twilight reconstruction.
This desire for self sufficiency has been further fueled by a feeling among the Poles and Czechs that French military equipment is not entirely suited to operations in eastern Europe. Polish and Czech forces are both organized to defend very small areas compared to, say, the operational area in which the Central Asian War was fought, and the terrain in that area is not particularly conducive to hovercraft operations. As a result, the Poles and Czechs have leaned more towards tracked vehicle designs, relying on hovercraft as adjuncts to a large tracked AFV fleet.
The following four vehicles are fairly representative of the Polish and Czech AFV fleets, though this selection is not an exhaustive list of all designs in service. In addition to the vehicles described here, the Polish military makes use of the following vehicles imported from France (or locally produced copies of French vehicles):
wz.91 "ORZEL" MAIN BATTLE TANK
The wzor 2291 "Orzel" ("Eagle") is a tracked main battle tank, being the Polish version of a vehicle jointly developed with the Czechs beginning in the early 2280s. The design was completed in 2287, too late to see service in the Central Asian War, with fielding further delayed after the collapse of the ruling Liberal Solidarity party's wartime coalition government and the ascendancy of less pro-military Unity party. Czech units began receiving their version of the vehicle in 2288, which is known in Czech service as the vz 88.
The first unit equipped with the Orzel was the 5th 'Saksonia' Armored Cavalry Division (veterans of the Central Asian War, where they had fought in AC-8 HBTs), beginning in 2291. The remainder of the 1st Cavalry Army received the vehicle between 2291-95, with other mechanized and armored cavalry units receiving the tank from 2296-99. Polish procurement of the vehicle (including spare vehicles, specialized variants, and war reserves) was complete by 2300, though it remains in production for the export market (it is currently also in service with the armed forces of Baluchistan, Chile, and India, with Hungary and Serbia also expressing interest in the vehicle).
Vehicle layout is fairly conventional for a 23rd century vehicle, with the hydrogen power plant located forward, crew compartment aft of the power plant, and remote casemate turret located slightly to the rear of the center of the hull. Crew access is via a single roof hatch (usually used only in emergencies) located forward of the turret and via a hatch and crawl space at the rear of the hull. For ease of maintenance and to reduce costs the Polish and Czech designers opted for a single 1.75MW power plant and single band tracks. The vehicle incorporated then current passive stealth features in its design, which have been upgraded to some extent in an "Improved" version of the vehicle (though these are not up to the standards of modern 2nd Tier nations). The vehicle is also equipped with an active ECM pod for radar jamming, though this system, like the passive stealthing, is a generation behind current 2nd Tier systems.
Primary armament consists of license built French Manta-1 anti-vehicle missiles and an 80mm mass driver cannon (the same weapon fitted to the AC-8's sponson mount). The Manta launcher and MDC are located in the remote turret, along with a coaxial 30mm automatic grenade launcher and external quad-mount Guiscard Martel SAM launcher (being intended for European ranges, the very accurate, short range missile is considered ideal by Polish and Czech designers). A cupola atop the turret houses a Polish designed Motyl ("Butterfly") point defense missile system, consisting of a three barreled 8mm binary machinegun firing APHE ammunition from a fast traverse mount which is slaved to its own LADAR system. The PDS system has several engagement modes, allowing its automated and semi-automated use against missile targets as well as infantry and light vehicles.
Communications are via two encrypted, directional radios (each with a planning range of 40 km) which are capable of voice and digital information transmission (operational ranges for Polish and Czech forces do not require the use of SATCOM systems). Local communication at the troop and squadron level is via a very low power encrypted radio (range 5 km). Battlefield digitization is built around licensed production of French systems fitted to the AC-8 and AC-10; the Czechs are said to be working on a new, more modern software and hardware refit kit.
Sensors include a 360 degree passive thermal and optical viewing system, with active fire control coming from a millimeter wave radar scanning in a 45-degree arc to the turret front and a laser rangefinder mounted above the Motyl PDS' cupola. The laser rangefinder's placement makes it possible for the vehicle commander to lock onto targets for the missile systems while the gunner is engaging targets in another direction. The target must be within the front 60-degree arc of the turret for vehicle to hand over targeting to the missiles' seekers and for firing, however.
The wz.91 has a crew of three (driver, gunner, and commander). At the time of its design the technology was available to effectively reduce crew size to two, and this idea was considered, but the Poles and Czechs were of the opinion that this might place an excessive work load on crew members, particularly during extended operations. All three crewmen ride in one crew compartment, with the gunner's and commander's work stations being redundant and interchangeable (in practice the gunner usually operates the MDC and 30mm grenade launcher, while the vehicle commander takes responsibility for the vehicle's missiles and tactical integration of the vehicle into troop and squadron operations). A typical crew, in Polish service, consists of a senior sergeant commanding, a sergeant or corporal as gunner, and a private as driver.
Type: Tracked MBT
Electronic Counter Measures:
Cargo: 500 kg
wz.90 "SOKOL" INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE
The "Sokol" ("Falcon") infantry fighting vehicle is a joint Polish-Czech design based on a lightened chassis of the wz.91/vz.88 tracked main battle tank in service with those two nations (in Czech service it is designated the OT-90). While mobility is limited in open terrain, compared to hovercraft, the Sokol is heavily armed and armored, relative to air cushion IFVs, and well suited to the operational demands imposed by an Eastern European environment. The Sokol began entering service with both nations in the early 2290s. It has also sold fairly well on the export market, and is currently in service with Baluchistan and Chile (both of which also use the Orzel tank).
The wz.90's 1.1 MW MHD turbine is located forward, to enhance crew survival, with the two man crew (driver and gunner/commander) seated to the rear of the engine compartment. To the rear of the crew is the vehicle's casemate turret, slightly offset to the right, and beyond that is the troop compartment. Main access to the vehicle is via two hinged doors at the rear of the vehicle, opening directly into the troop compartment, with secondary access in the form of two hatches, one on the front deck (for the crew) and another on the rear deck (for troops).
Armament consists of a 30mm mass driver cannon, a coaxial 30mm automatic grenade launcher, and a single launcher tube for Manta-1 ATGMs, while defensive features include a cupola mounted Motyl 8mm point defense anti-missile system atop the turret, as well as passive thermal and radar stealthing measures.
Two crewmen operate the vehicle, officially designated as driver and gunner/commander, though crew stations are interchangeable and redundant (the commander's station, to the right of the driver's, overrides the driver's controls, should input from them differ, however). Typically, the wz.90 and its infantry complement are led by a Senior Sergeant, who also serves as the vehicle commander, while the driver is usually a Senior Private. In addition to the crew of two, the wz.90 carries a seven man infantry squad, typically consisting of a sergeant, and two three man fire teams, each led by a lance corporal or corporal. The dismounted squad leader is provided with a limited function workstation in the troop compartment, which allows him to access map data, the vehicle's sensor feeds, and the unit's digital information network. Total complement for an wz.90 squad (crew and dismounts) is nine men.
Sensors are derived from those fitted to the wz.91, though they have been adapted to the Sokol's armament. Sensor suite includes a 360 degree passive thermal and optical viewing system (with display feeding to the dismounted squad leader's workstation in the rear of the vehicle as well as to the crew). Active fire control consists of a lower powered millimeter wave radar similar to that found in the Orzel, with the same 45-degree field of vision to the turret front. Unlike the wz.91, the vehicle's laser range-finder/designator has a limited traverse mount above the MDC which limits its scanning field to the same arc as the MMR sensor; as a result, the vehicle can only acquire missile targets in the general direction the turret is facing. The Motyl PDMS has its own LADAR sensor and is usually placed in automated mode during mounted operations, with doctrine calling for it to be switched to "missile only mode" when friendly forces are on the ground (should a dismount's personal IFF system malfunction, the Motyl would otherwise engage him).
Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Electronic Counter Measures:
Cargo: 500 km (plus
30mm Light Mass Driver Cannon
Though it lacks the power of the heavy plasma guns commonly fitted to infantry fighting vehicles, the wz90's 30mm MDC compensates for this with its longer range and larger ammunition load. Currently, the only round available for the gun is an APFSDSDU (depleted uranium sabot round); the paired 30mm automatic grenade launcher, firing HEAP and proximity fused HE rounds is used to deal with infantry and soft skinned vehicles.
wz.81 "UL" HOVER TANK DESTROYER and wz.82 "DOWODCA" UAV TENDER
The wz.80 Opanczerzony Poduszkowiec (Armored Hovercraft), affectionately known to its crews as the "Colt" ("Zrebie") is the designation given to the AVCI-3 Bessieres hover APC in Polish service. The wz.81 "Ul" ("Beehive") is a modification of the AVCI-3, mounting long range, vertical launch P-109 anti-tank missiles and P-100 surface to air missiles. While the wz.80 can acquire and engage targets on its own, the vehicle is much more effective when paired with the wz.82 headquarters vehicle equipped with P-70 UAVs for long-range target detection.
In appearance, both the wz.81 tank destroyer and wz.82 command vehicle resemble the basic and ubiquitous AVCI-3 with a smaller turret fitted. On the wz.81 the new turret contains a single barreled 8mm binary machinegun for self defense and the vehicle's sensor suite, mounted on a telescoping three meter mast. The wz.82's turret resembles that of the wz.80 TD, except that the telescoping mast has been replaced with additional directional antennas and communications equipment (from a distance it is easily mistaken for a VBE communications vehicle). Both vehicles are somewhat heavier than a standard AVCI-3, with an associated decrease in their top speed (though mobility remains superior to tracked vehicles in open terrain).
The wz.81 tank destroyer carries a total of 20 missiles (18 P-109 ATGMs and 2 P-100 SAMs), for its two launch systems, each of which is fed from a 9 round P-109 magazine and a single shot P-100 magazine. This arrangement allows for rapid fire of SAMs for vehicle self-defense, as necessary. During typical operations, the wz.81 TD will not use its own sensors at all, if possible, taking firing cues from the P-70 UAV, with the information relayed automatically from the UAV through the wz.82 to the wz.81's missiles.
Polish divisions are each equipped with two anti-tank squadrons as part of their reconnaissance regiment, with each squadron having nine wz.81s and four wz.82s. Doctrine calls for the anti-tank squadrons to support the regiment's close reconnaissance squadrons and divisional gunship squadron in the "intermediate battle" between 10-50 km beyond the division. The anti-tank squadrons can also re-posture to break up enemy attacks or bring immediate fire against an enemy breakthrough, as necessary. The two squadrons will usually be dispersed to bring most or all of the parent division's front-line area into the firing arc of the long-range P-109s.
wz.81 HOVER TANK DESTROYER
Type: Hover Tank
Electronic Counter Measures:
Cargo: 200 kg
wz.82 HOVER COMMAND VEHICLE/UAV TENDER
Type: Hover Command
Electronic Counter Measures:
Cargo: 400 kg
P-70 Reconnaissance Drone
A medium range unmanned aerial vehicle used by the wz82 command vehicle and UAV tender to acquire targets for wz81 tank destroyers and other vehicles and aircraft (the drone is also used on the wz91 tracked artilley spotter vehicle). Mobility is provided via two side-mounted cycloidal propeller assemblies, providing relatively high speed, excellent manueverability, and good endurance. The P-70 is very stealthy, and usually operates at low altitude. The drone has sufficient onboard computers to perform relatively intricate, short duration missions (up to 60 minutes in length) without any communication from its parent DOP-80A (which relies on narrow-beam line of sight radios for communication).
Maximum Range From Parent
Vehicle (Planning): 80 km
Cargo: 0 kg
wz77 8mm Binary Machinegun
P-100 Surface to Air Missile
P-109 Anti-Tank Guided Missile
A heavy, long-range antivehicle missile fired by the OP-80A, replacing the earlier P-103 ATGM beginning in 2293.