Two agreements covering the construction works related to new vessels for the Polish Navy were signed at the Polish Ministry of Defence, in presence of Bartosz Kownacki. According to the documents signed, a prototype Ratownik (Eng. Lifeguard) class vessel is going to be introduced into service (with optional acquisition of another example envisaged within the agreement). Furthermore, another two Kormoran class minehunters are also expected to be procured. The total value of the agreements signed yesterday (i.e. on 27th December) exceeds the amount of PLN 2 billion.
Ratownik is going to act as a training and operational rescue and salvage vessel for own and allied (surface, underwater and aviation) forces. The ship is going to be used to provide help to the crews of the damaged surface combatants/submarines and to carry out underwater rescue and repair operations.
The Polish Navy needs “modern vessels of this class” – stressed Bartosz Kownacki. This is motivated by the planned withdrawal of the Project 570 ORP “Piast” and ORP “Lech” rescue-salvage ships.
"The project bears a great degree of significance for the Polish national security, as the new vessels are to act as an operational security measure for the submarines expected to be acquired within the framework of the ORKA programme." - Bartosz Kownacki, Polish Deputy Minister of Defence.
PGZ-led consortium, including: PGZ S.A., Stocznia Remontowa NAUTA S.A., Stocznia Wojenna PGZ Sp. z o.o. oraz OBR CTM S.A.; would be working on building the RATOWNIK-class ships. It is expected that the order may have a value of up to PLN 1.5 billion. The Agreement by and between the PGZ and the Armament Inspectorate was signed by the President of the Management Board at the PGZ Group, Blażej Wojnicz, and member of the board at PGZ, Adam Lesiński, on behalf of the PGZ.
As stressed by the Group, the consortium, including PGZ S.A., PGZ S.A., Stocznia Remontowa NAUTA S.A., SW PGZ SP z o.o. and Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A., has been brought to life to jointly participate in the Ratownik programme. The programme in question required an offer to be placed, concerning the delivery of two rescue-salvage ships, with procurement of one being optional. A single vessel as such is expected to cost around 800 million zlotys. The building process concerning a single vessel is expected to last almost 5 years, starting from the date when the agreement is signed. The conceptual and executive designs for the ship will be prepared by the Polish MMC Ship Design & Marine Consulting Sp. z o.o. entity.
"The implementation of the order concerning the RATOWNIK class vessels would mean that the Group is given an opportunity to expand its maritime expertise. Building of the said vessels would also be a good preparation for us, before other initiatives concerning the modernization of the Polish Navy begin. Here, primarily, we are referring to the ORKA programme which is going to be pursued in collaboration with a foreign partner. Notably, this is the first order, a major portion of which, is going to be worked on at the Stocznia Wojenna S.A. facility which is currently being embedded in the structure of the PGZ Group." - as Błażej Wojnicz, President of the Management Board at the PGZ Group said
Rescue and salvage ships act as the auxiliary vessels, securing the operations of the Polish Navy and acting as the rescue assets for the crews of the submarines in distress. They are also used to recover the sunk military equipment, extinguish fires and carry out decontamination tasks in scenarios, in which weapons of mass destruction could potentially be utilized.
The vessels will be equipped with the hardware required to carry out saturation diving, decompression chamber for the rescued crews, UUVs, fire extinguishing systems, decontamination systems and a medical component. The ship is also going to feature a helipad.
More Kormoran Vessels for the Navy
Kownacki also noted that “procurement of more Kormoran-class vessels remains equally important, with those vessels prominently increasing the Polish Navy’s potential to neutralize the threat posed by the mines”.
The contract that covers the procurement of another two Kormoran class mine countermeasures vessels is a result of the framework agreement signed back on 23rd September 2013. According to the aforesaid agreement and the provisions that had been contained within the document, once the first prototype passed the test programme (qualification), a contract concerning another two vessels was to be signed. The first surface combatant of the group, ORP “Kormoran”, became a part of the inventory of the Polish Navy on 28th November 2017.
Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence and a Consortium including the RSB Shipyard based in Gdynia (leader) and Gdynia-based PGZ companies, Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Centrum Techniki Morskiej S.A. (CTM) and PGZ Stocznia Wojenna, were the parties to the agreement that concerned another two minehunters.
Stocznia Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. and CTM have formed the core of the consortium responsible for building the first vessel. The shipbuilding mentioned above facility was responsible for delivery of the seagoing platform, hardware and general ship systems, including navigation and communications suites.
Meanwhile, CTM was acting as the entity integrating the Combat Command and Control system. The CTM facility has also created and delivered the integrated battle suite for the ship, including a command subsystem, passive protection system, underwater observation system. The latter component includes SHL-101/TM, SHL-300 sonar systems and “Toczek” mine countermeasures.
"Systems installed onboard a modern surface combatant are the main factor that have a decisive impact on its combat value. Hence the CTM SCOT battle management suite constitutes a clear confirmation of the fact that expertise in this domain is available domestically. Now, as we signed the agreement concerning further vessels, we are satisfied with the fact that our own national system became a starting point for a series of vessels." - President of the Management Board at OBR CTM S.A. Andrzej Kilian, PhD Eng.
During the briefing it was also announced that the subsequent two Kormoran vessels are going to be delivered, respectively, in January 2020 and before 30rd November 2021. Meanwhile, RATOWNIK is going to be delivered before 30rd November 2022.
Kownacki also announced that no surprises shall be expected before the end of 2017. This means that the MoD has not yet decided which of the Orka programme offers is the most attractive one. The information that had been earlier released by the Navy Inspector, Rear Admiral Miroslaw Mordel, suggest that we shall not expect Orka selection this year.
The Polish Ministry of Defence is in its final stretch to make relevant decisions, which is going to happen soon, as Kownacki noted.