8x8 Wheeled Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)
The Polish KTO Rosomak is based on the Finnish Patria Eight-Wheeled Armored Modular Vehicle.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The KTO Rosomak ("Wolverine") is a family of multi-purpose, eight-wheeled, armored vehicles currently in service with the Polish Army and originally based on a Finnish design - the Patria AMV. In the early part of the century, Polish authorities sought a cost-effective, multi-role vehicle to modernized their mechanized forces and replace outmoded types fulfilling the same battlefield role. Instead of settling on an indigenous internal design, several foreign entries were entertained. The Polish government settled on the capable Finnish Patria and a bulk procurement order for several hundred vehicles ensued in December of 2002. The deal included license production rights for the vehicle - designated as the Rosomak - to be constructed locally and with Polish Army-required changes in the mix, making Poland the first foreign operator of the Patria system. The eventual order totaled nearly 900 vehicles to be completed in two distinct forms - an armed infantry fighting vehicle and a basic armored vehicle to be modified by the Army as needed. In all, the deal numbered 313 IFVs and 377 base wheeled models. Polish production of the Rosomak is currently being handled by the WZM S.A. concern out of Siemianowice Slaskie of Southern Poland. Beyond Poland, Malaysia remains a potential customer of the Rosomak though no deal has formulated as of this writing.
Vehicles such as the Patria/Rosomak mark a changed direction of armored warfare where a single wheeled armored chassis forms the basis of a series of vehicles. This creates a modular product to which the operator can address specific battlefield requirements at cost. The Rosomak differs from the original Patria due to the instituted Polish Army requirements but, overall, remains faithful to the Finnish design. While a relatively new addition to the Polish inventory, the type has already been fielded operationally in the War in Aghanistan as part of the Polish presence there and has proven reliable and resilient considering the volatile and unforgiving operating theater. The Rosomak was also used in the EU mission in Chad. Such a system rewards its owners by allowing modifications to the basic design in the form of varying armament arrangements, logistically-friendly automotive parts and generally robust design elements.
The external design and internal layout of the KTO Rosomak is quite conventional by modern standards. The vehicle sports eight large rubber-tired road wheels to a side. The hull features excellent clearance off of the ground and is amphibious to an extent, propelled in the water by a pair of propellers. The eight-wheeled arrangement is fully-suspended for maximum capabilities on road and off. The glacis plate is well-sloped, nearly -horizontal and meets the flat superstructure roof. The lower front hull meets the glacis plate at a flattened edge at the front of the vehicle, this housing forward driving lights. Rectangular rear-view mirrors are set at the extreme corners of the forward hull for the driver and turret crew. The superstructure sides are nearly vertical. If equipped with the base powered turret (variants vary in their weapon arrangement), the emplacement is a low-profile installation with unobstructed traverse and limited elevation while being mounted at the center of the superstructure roof. The turret fits an automatic chain gun weapon system or other applicable weaponry as well as a bank of six smoke grenade dischargers to cover tactical maneuvering. There are two armored hatches with vision blocks on the turret roof. The driver maintains a front left position (noted for its own hatch and vision blocks) with the powerpack to his right. A standard operating crew consists of three personnel including the driver, commander and gunner. Up to eight passengers can be housed in relative safety within the rear-set troop compartment. Entry and exit to the fighting compartment is handled by a rectangular door at the rear of the hull, straddled by the rear-most wheel pair. A pair of roof-mounted hatches for the passengers are also provided. There do not appear to be firing ports along the superstructure sides for the occupants within. Power for the Rosomak series is supplied by a single DI 12 Scania Diesel diesel-fueled engine system. The powerplant supplied the chassis with an output of 480 horsepower (up to 543 horsepower). This equals 60 mile per hour road speeds and operational ranges nearing 500 miles. The Rosomak weighs in at nearly 50,000lb and sports a running length of 25 feet with a height over 7 feet and width of just over 9 feet.
The Rosomak exists in several notable variants to this point. The basic infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is the KTO Rosomak and identified by its Oto Melara Hitfist-30P powered turret. The turret sports the 30mm ATK Mk 44 Bushmaster II series chain gun autocannon as well as a 7.62mm UKM-2000C series general purpose machine gun in a coaxial installation. The 30mm armament can handle light armored vehicles with high-explosive (HE) and armor-piercing (AP) projectiles as well as fortifications housing enemy elements. The 7.62mm machine gun can manage enemy infantry concentrations as needed.
Poland's involvement in the War in Afghanistan forced the development of a theater-based version known as the Rosomak-M1M. This version was differentiated from the original base form by the installation of improved communications gear, external video cameras tied to internal screens, a Pilar directional fire detection system, additional armor protection, an optional Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) steel cage "netting" to help defeat incoming projectile grenades and wire cutters fitted to at the driver and commander hatches. As all of these additions ultimately changed the basic design - that is, produced a heavier end-product - the Rosomak-M1M lost its amphibious capabilities (including its water propeller systems).
The KTO Rosomak-M3 became a dedicated armored personnel carrier (APC) variant. This design, like the M1M before it, was also brought about due to the Polish involvement in Afghanistan and follows closely the changes already witnessed in the M1M version. However, the M3 is completed with a lighter open-air turret and fits a dual weapon station armed with a 40mm Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher as well as a 12.7mm NSV series heavy machine gun. The weapons are intended for point defense of embarking/disembarking troops and can supply cover and suppression fire as needed.
The KTO Rosomak-S variant is similar to the M3 in that it was developed as an armored personnel carrier and intended for the carrying of anti-tank infantry teams into battle. The KTO Rosomak-WD is being developed as a battlefield command vehicle with limited armament facilities though much increased communications capabilities. The KTO Rosomak-Lowcza is a known dedicated mobile air-defense vehicle.