Text and photos By Dan Shea
I Landed in Warsaw, Poland, then drove the seventy or so klicks to Kielce for the annual MSPO Show that is held there. Driving through so much history gave pause for thought, as did the seductive name “Radom” on one of the towns I passed through on the way. Radom as in the Radom pistol, which gave wings to daydreams of walking into small gun shops with piles of Radoms on the back shelf, collecting dust. This did not happen, of course. Poland is a very nice place to visit, and it seems to be in layers today- a modern country on top of a post war failed communist economy, but under all of that the strength and deep military history of a thousand years of commitment and industry. The next MSPO will be the 16th annual event and it is scheduled for 8-11 September, 2008, and I strongly urge those with the means and interest to attend this yearly show. Vendors who have not yet signed up may be out of luck at this point but should definitely plan for 2009. -Dan
Each year, when MSPO is announced, there is a “Lead Nation” chosen. This “Lead Nation” is responsible for setting a tone, putting their best foot forward and showcasing their products and support for the Polish defense industry and MSPO. At the meeting in 2007, it was the United States as lead Nation and in 2008 it will be Sweden.
In 2007, there were 364 companies from 24 countries present and the US contingent represented 31companies.
MSPO has grown into the largest military show in Eastern Europe, and its prominence in the defense industry is growing every year. Along with the trade show and live demonstrations, there are several days of seminars on arms and military subjects.
MSPO is fast becoming a “Must attend” show for those in the international arms trade, and SAR heartily recommends attending.
Bumar Group represents most of the Polish arms manufacturers as the export group and the sponsor of many of the booths at MSPO Bumar Sp. z o. o. www.bumar.com
Poland’s new Kalashnikov variant is the Beryl wz96. SAR has a feature on this rifle coming soon from Leszek Ehrenfecht. Presented here are three variants- the Beryl, the Mini-Beryl, and the Beryl Commando. Manufacturer is Fabryka Broni “Lucznik” Radom Sp. z. o. o. and their website is www.fabrykabroni.pl
PM-98/98S Submachine Gun
The PM98 is a modernized version of the 1984 made PM84 closed bolt submachine gun. The PM-06 is the 2006 modernized offering, incorporating a picatinny rail like the PM98s.
Poland has excellent production facilities for the famous ZSU-23-2, the workhorse Anti-aircraft system from the old ComBloc. It’s been modernized with electric controls and in the KG configuration adds two GROM missiles. The old ZSU (Type) 23 (Caliber 23mm) and -2 (2 guns) carries the ZUR configuration in Poland. The T configuration has no missiles, but an onboard fire control system that allows for air targets and ground targets with automatic integration of ballistics for various ammunitions used.
WKM-B NSV type
The side-shuttle styled “NSV” 12.7mm machine gun is here adapted to the ground mount “Infantry” configuration. There are knee supports for the shooter to add to tripod platform, and a shoulder support similar to the Vinghog M2HB softmounts seen in SAR recently. Zaklady Mechaniczne Tarnow S.A. www.zmt.tarnow.pl
UKM 2000 D
By far one of the most interesting finds at the show was the UKM 2000D variant of the PKM. With its side folding buttstock making it more paratrooper friendly, and the fact that it is in 7.62x51mm NATO caliber were outstanding. This author tried to get a better look into the mechanism, but the staff there would not permit it. They insisted that this model utilizes not only the NATO 30 cal, it uses the standard M13 disintegrating metallic link, the same as the M60 and the M240 series use. This is a radical change from the offerings that most companies are trying in this caliber, usually requiring the end user to switch to PKM pull out non-disintegrating metallic belts. Expect a deeper report on this item. UKM2000P is the standard infantry version, UKM 2000D is the folding stock version, and UKM 2000C is the tank version. P and D versions have Picatinny style rails.
Zaklady Mechaniczne Tarnow S.A.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V11N12 (September 2008)|