Armed Forces

Mroczek: UAV-related Decisions To Be Made In August. Final Configuration Of The Wisła System To Be Defined In October.

Image Credit: Bundeswehr/Gygas
Image Credit: Bundeswehr/Gygas

“We want to finalize the definition of the [Wisła] system’s configuration and to submit our pending-status request in the FMS system in October” - as it was stated by the Polish Deputy Minister of Defence, Czesław Mroczek. Moreover, decisions regarding the UAV acquisition process are going to be taken in August.

Decisions related to the two key areas of the currently pursued army’s technological modernization programme – acquisition of the medium range missile defence system, programme which is also known as Wisła (Vistula), and acquisition of Gryf and Zefir UCAV’s – are going to be made within the upcoming months.

As it was stated by Czesław Mroczek, in his interview for Polskie Radio 24, Polish Ministry of Defence is carrying out the final analyses and arrangements regarding the mode of acquisition related to the Zefir operational unmanned system and to the Gryf tactical unmanned system. According to Mroczek, the Polish companies are not in a possession, and will not be in possession of capabilities of manufacturing the UCAV systems, without any external assistance. The above statement made by Deputy Minister is controversial, both within the scope of assessment of the Polish industry, as well as within the scope of the fact that Gryf and Zefir programmes are fused together. The above issues were mentioned by the representatives of the WB Electronics company, during the recent presentation of the UAV offer addressed at the Polish Army. 

There is no reason to fuse the programmes, the aim of which is to procure MALE and tactical UAV’s – these are separate classes of vehicles. We must realize that collection of the information related to the competences of the national subjects, regarding the Zefir and Gryf UAV’s, had been carried out several years ago (...) Our company is being constantly developed, we create new technologies and systems – had it not been for that, we would be quickly eliminated from the market. (...) MANTA UAV is the best example here.

President of the WB Group - Piotr Wojciechowski

Contrary to the earlier declarations referring to the MoD’s recommendations, according to which Gryf and Zefir UCAV systems are going to be procured via an inter-governmental contract, the Ministry is currently executing the analyses regarding selection between an inter-governmental agreement and a competitive procedure. In the latter case, as Mroczek stated, the procedure would be limited “down to the subjects in possession of proper capabilities”. The above may mean that – similarly as it happened in case of the Wisła programme – Polish Ministry of Defence would limit the list of the competing contractors to a few subjects that are selected earlier.  

I have made arrangements with Minister Siemoniak, regarding the meeting of the Ministry’s leadership. The final decision is going to be made by Minister Siemoniak no later than on 20th August. The agreement is going to be signed no later than during the second half of 2016.

Deputy Minister Czesław Mroczek, in his interview for PR24.

Wisła medium range air defence programme is yet another important area. Ministry of Defence decided to select the US-made Patriot system here. Due to the fact that the current configuration of the proposed system does not meet the Polish requirements (including the 360-degree detection and threat neutralization capabilities) negotiations and analyses are being executed, covering the topic of the final configuration which would be fully compliant with the needs announced by Warsaw. Not only is the above point related to the combat system itself, it also covers the relevant training components, such as the simulators and the training devices. Another important area of talks, covers the involvement of the Polish industry, within the scope of production and maintenance.

That issue is planned on a basis of a tight schedule. We want to finalize the definition of the [Wisła] system’s configuration and to submit our pending-status request in the FMS system in October Now we are going through a cycle of a variety of negotiations and analyses, the aim of which is to finalize the system’s configuration. (...) Offset assumptions are already set.

Deputy Minister Mroczek

Negotiations involving the United States are complicated, mainly due to the fact that the components of the Patriot system are manufactured and maintained by a variety of companies, including the two most important ones – Rayethon and Lockheed Martin. Only after all of the details of the planned agreement are arranged, it would be possible to submit a request within the Foreign Military Sales programme. This means that the US Administration is going to become a party of the agreement, acting as an intermediary between Poland and the manufacturer, in the process of acquiring the system. However, the above steps cannot be completed without the approval granted by the US Senate. In practical terms, the above means that, a few months may pass, starting from the moment when Poland submits the relevant documents, until the moment when the request is processed through the FMS programme and the Agreement may be concluded.