moja polska zbrojna
Od 25 maja 2018 r. obowiązuje w Polsce Rozporządzenie Parlamentu Europejskiego i Rady (UE) 2016/679 z dnia 27 kwietnia 2016 r. w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych i w sprawie swobodnego przepływu takich danych oraz uchylenia dyrektywy 95/46/WE (ogólne rozporządzenie o ochronie danych, zwane także RODO).

W związku z powyższym przygotowaliśmy dla Państwa informacje dotyczące przetwarzania przez Wojskowy Instytut Wydawniczy Państwa danych osobowych. Prosimy o zapoznanie się z nimi: Polityka przetwarzania danych.

Prosimy o zaakceptowanie warunków przetwarzania danych osobowych przez Wojskowych Instytut Wydawniczy – Akceptuję

Light Equipment for Light Infantry

Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) are growing in strength, not only in terms of the number of soldiers. The youngest service of the Polish Armed Forces has at its disposal very advanced, top quality armament and equipment.

Within the last four years, the numerical strength of TDF nearly quadrupled. At the beginning of 2018, there were 7,000 soldiers in TDF; today, there are almost 30,000 of them. The formation is developing, and the Ministry of National Defense has informed that three new brigades will be created next year – in Warsaw, Chełm, and Przemyśl. While TDF’s main strength have always been people, the formation’s showcase is also its armament and equipment – adjusted to the character of light infantry and, what’s important, produced largely by the Polish defense industry.

As the TDF Command informs, the coronavirus pandemic has not had a negative effect on the procurement of new armament and equipment for TDF. Within the last several months, they have received new equipment which has significantly increased their capabilities.

Exceptional Vis and Grot

“Within the last several months, our TDF brigades received top class small arms. On the basis of signed contracts, we have already delivered 3,000 Vis 100 pistols to TDF soldiers, and by the end of 2022, all TDF officers and NCOs are to be equipped in this type of pistol,” says LtCol Adam Tarasiuk of the Technical Department of the TDF Command Logistics Management. The Vis 100 is a personal weapon mainly intended for short-distance fighting and self-defense. Its maximum effective range is about 150 m. The pistol frame features a Picatinny rail system for mounting additional accessories, e.g. a light or a laser pointer. The pistol was produced by Fabryka Broni Łucznik-Radom. “The name of the pistol is a reference to the 35 Vis pistol from 1939. The number 100, on the other hand, is a reference to the date of introducing the weapon into service, in the year marking the one hundred year anniversary of regaining independence by Poland,” explains Col Marek Pietrzak, the spokesperson for the TDF. The pistol has been created on the basis of the PR-Ragun design developed since 2013. “The first trainings on the construction and exploitation of the 9-mm semi-automatic pistols began in the second half of 2019. Several months later, their first batch was delivered to particular units.”

The users’ opinions on the Vis 100 are positive. TDF soldiers appreciate it for its ergonomics, among other things. “This is the fourth type of pistol I have used during my service. I’ve worked with a WIST, a P-83, a Ragun and now a Vis, which is unrivalled in comparison to all the others,” says Capt Sławomir Woch, Commander of the Command Company at the 3rd Subcarpathian Territorial Defense Brigade. “The possibility to regulate the thickness of the grip by adding or removing covers is very useful. This helps to adjust the thickness to the soldier’s hand and thus increase the accuracy of shooting,” adds the officer. 2ndLt Bartłomiej Lenar of the 11th Light Infantry Battalion of the 1st Podlaska Territorial Defense Brigade also mentions that the pistol is fully ambidextrous, so both right- and left-handed soldiers can comfortably use it. “It is great for beginners as well as experienced shooters. I like the rail for additional accessories and the backlight for aiming devices,” he says. The territorial defense soldiers also point to the fact the pistol has a serrated rear slide, which makes it easier to reload in tactical gloves. They also received a thigh or waistband mounted kydex holsters. The holsters have a safety system that prevents unauthorized drawing of the pistol or its falling out, e.g. during running.

The passing year has also seen deliveries of the A2 version of the 5.56-mm MSBS Grot assault rifles. The modular rifle, produced in Poland, is a personal weapon for attacking enemy troops. After mounting a grenade launcher, it can be used to counter light armored vehicles, and attaching a knife bayonet enables hand-to-hand fighting. Opinions on the MSBS Grot vary, but as the commander of TDF, MajGen Wiesław Kukuła, emphasizes, with passing time the rifle wins the hearts of territorial defense soldiers, and most of them cannot imagine returning to Beryl rifles. Also shooting instructors, including former special operations forces soldiers, have a good opinion on the MSBS Grot. They admit, for instance, that by exchanging various elements – the barrel, the stock or the butt – the rifle can be adjusted to the soldiers’ particular tasks. They also appreciate the monolithic duralumin receiver that guarantees stability of aiming devices mounted along its entire length.

Within the last several months, the territorial defense soldiers have also received sniper’s rifles – in connection with marksmen and snipers training – as well as crew-served weapons.

On top of that, in order to improve firing capabilities, TDF soldiers have been equipped with observational and night combat devices, such as binoculars, night-vision goggles and sights, range finders and anemometers.

Mobility is Crucial

For some time now, TDF soldiers are also using the LMP-2017 light infantry mortar, produced by ZM Tarnów. “It is a qualitative leap in the armament of our service,” emphasizes LtCol Tarasiuk of TDF Command. “Mortars have one particular characteristic that makes them stand out among all fire support means possessed by TDF: they allow for indirect firing [when the target is not visible]. Their high angle of fire – the capability to fire within the upper group of angles – is invaluable in the case of targets at which we are unable to fire directly,” adds a specialist of the Technical Department of TDF Command’s Logistics Management. According to the contract, TDF and the Land Forces will receive 780 mortars of this type before the end of 2022. The first trainings for instructors and gunsmiths began in 2019, and the first trainings on handling and operating the LMP-2017 began at military units in 2020.

Cpl Adam Rogowski of the 1st Territorial Defense Brigade has been training with the LMP-2017 for several months now. One of the advantages he mentions is the weapon’s small weight. The mortar weighs only 7.5 kg (its predecessor, the LM-60 – about 19 kg). “The soldiers of the light infantry company carry all their equipment themselves, so the lighter it is, the better for us. It significantly increases mobility and efficacy on the battlefield,” says the NCO. The LMP is meant to fire at enemy living force, observation points and light field fortifications. “It ensures support on the battlefield in any weather conditions, during the day and at night. Targets can be hit at the distance from 100 to even 1,300 meters, and, if need be, as many as 25 fragmentation grenades per minute can be launched from it without correcting the aiming,” explains Cpl Rogowski. Apart from fragmentation rounds, the mortar can also use illuminating ones. The NCO adds that the mortar can be operated both by right- and left-handed soldiers, and the shooting itself is facilitated by means of a liquid sight.

The modernization of the army also includes deliveries of Javelin fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles that will equip TDF. Currently, the sets are at the TDF Training Center in Toruń, but ultimately they will be delivered to territorial defense brigades (first of all to brigades located in the east of the country). Javelins are to equip tank destroyer groups. “The missile can pierce through almost any armor, which guarantees effectiveness on the battlefield. The system is light, it weighs only several kilograms. This increases the group’s mobility, as we can locate the target, launch the missile and retreat before the enemy locates us. It’s a great weapon for irregular conflicts,” explains Capt Witold Sura, the spokesperson for the 3rd Territorial Defense Brigade.

In 2020, TFD soldiers also received personal equipment: ballistic glasses, tactical flashlights, multifunctional tools and HP-05 composite helmets. The helmets are most appreciated by the soldiers, as they not only provide ballistic protection, but can also carry additional equipment, such as lighting or night vision devices. “They have accessory rails and night vision goggles mounting bracket. They are compatible with other military equipment: gas masks, filtering protective clothing, bullet-proof vests, personal communication devices and eye protection devices,” enumerates LtCol Tarasiuk. The user opinions on the helmets are very good. “Their profile is great. The shape enables us to wear active hearing protection headsets, for instance. There are also two fixtures for mounting camouflage elements, and a small container in the back to hold counterweight when we are using night vision,” says Capt Sławomir Woch of the 3rd Territorial Defense Brigade. Another soldier, Sgt Maciej Doktor of the 1st Territorial Defense Brigade, points out that the helmet has been fitted with shock-absorbing pads and an adjustment wheel. All this makes the HP-05 fit the soldier’s head perfectly.

TDF for Crisis

Territorial Defense soldiers have helped people during floods, windstorms and fires many times. This was one of the reasons territorial defense brigades have recently received tanker trucks for transporting and distributing drinking water necessary to prepare meals and for hygienic purposes. They have also received the so-called mobile diesel-electric sets, which are independent power sources, as well as scrapedozers used for engineering works. The vehicles can be used for digging, leveling terrain, pushing soil or clearing snow. Moreover, after the experience of providing support to firemen during fires in Biebrza National Park in 2020, the TDF received special clothing.

Particular TDF brigades have received snow plows, water pumps, mine detectors, Berberys camouflage covers, and engineer danger zone markings. The soldiers also got x-ray radiometers, communications equipment: nodal cable-laying vehicles, portable radio stations, base and stationary radiotelephones. The TDF vehicle fleet has been expanded with trucks, vans, minibuses, buses, quads and Ford Ranger high mobility pick-up trucks.

Valuable UAVs

The first course for TDF FlyEye UAV operators was organized three years ago. Currently, there are already several dozen soldiers trained in handling this equipment.

Territorial Defense Forces have 12 UAV systems produced by WB Electronics, each consisting of four aerial platforms. In combat conditions, these mini drones can be used to observe the battlefield, patrol borders, verify consequences of catastrophes or monitor critical infrastructure. So far, the UAVs belonging to TDF have been used to support crisis management activities undertaken by, e.g., the Border Guard, during Operation Immune Spring to patrol Poland’s borders, during flood prevention activities, and while putting out fires in the Biebrza National Park region. Last year, TDF’s FlyEye UAVs spent over 1,000 hours in the air.

Another type of UAV used by TDF is a micro loitering munition called Warmate. The drones were developed by Polish engineers at WB Electronics (WB Group) in 2015, and the contract on procuring this equipment for the Polish Armed Forces was signed in 2017. The Warmate 1 loitering munition system, or actually the Warmate 1 Intelligent Guided System for Striking Targets, was officially introduced in the Polish Armed Forces in January 2021.

Warmates combine two functionalities: reconnaissance and attack. The system weighs 5 kg, of which 1.5 kg is the weight of the warhead. It can use fragmentation, HEAT or thermobaric payloads to counter enemy troops, destroy lightly armored vehicles and fortified resistance points.

Magdalena Kowalska-Sendek

autor zdjęć: DWOT

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