The Polish MEP who is also an influential politician of the Law and Justice party was asked, during the “Sygnały Dnia” radio programme, about the LOI signing that had been planned earlier with regards to acquisition of the second-hand Australian Adelaide-class Frigates. This deal is ultimately not going to happen. The initiative has been blocked by the Polish PM, Mateusz Morawiecki. The MEP stated that the analysis carried out at the MoD has been clear and conclusive: the Frigates were not tailored to operate in the Baltic Sea, while the cost required to arm them would bear a relevant value. - The analysis issued by the Polish Ministry of Defence has been conclusive: these frigates, when it comes to the Baltic Sea, would not prove themselves, and additionally one would need to cover significant costs related to provision of additional armament for them – he said.
According to my knowledge, this has been an initiative, and they should be thanked for it, this has been an initiative of our Australian compatriots, the thriving Polish emigrants, who decided that this is a good idea for reinforcement of the Polish military, and they should be thanked for these good intentions, as this reflects well on their patriotism. Meanwhile, here we have a merciless analysis carried out by the Polish Ministry of Defence. And thus, no frigates for Poland.
Ryszard Czarnecki added that, according to his knowledge, President Andrzej Duda was not involved personally in the concept of purchasing the Frigates. Czarnecki added that the initiative was launched by the Polish diaspora in Australia and expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the representatives of that diaspora are interested in reinforcing the Polish defence capabilities. However, the official reiterated the fact that the analytical effort undertaken by the MoD clearly reached an unambiguous and negative assessment of the concept - acquisition of the Frigates.
Following the blocking of conclusion of the Adelaide-class frigates acquisition LOI by PM Morawiecki, the representatives of the MoD and government also adopted a reserved stance. Deputy Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Wojciech Skurkiewicz said on Friday, on the wPolsce.pl TV channel, that “the Polish Ministry of Defence did not make a statement referring to the acquisition of these warships itself”, suggesting that the MoD is not the entity that initiated the concept of acquiring the frigates. During an interview for the “Portal Stoczniowy” outlet, head of the Ministry of Marine Economy and Inland Navigation, Marek Gróbarczyk criticized the concept that was meanwhile defended by the Deputy Head of the National Security Bureau, Dariusz Gwizdała.
Meanwhile, Head of the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers, Jacek Sasin, stated, on Polsat News, that analytical effort within that scope would be made by the MoD, and that the “MoD would be analysing whether this purchase is beneficial for Poland, for the Polish military and also for the Polish economy”. He also noted that the matter in question is being analysed within the context of the capacity of the Polish shipbuilding industry that is being restored by the Law and Justice government. “We are speaking about procurement of second-hand equipment. We would like [brand] new equipment to be received by Poland” – Jacek Sasin noted.
Krzysztof Szczerski, President’s Chief of Staff, said on Monday that “Negotiation pertaining to specific purchases is being carried out by the government, it is being carried out by the Polish Ministry of Defence, and it is going to be still carried out”. Back on 10th August Szczerski was still mentioning the planned conclusion of a letter of intent related to acquisition of the frigates. During his visit to Australia Andrzej Duda, the Polish President himself, referred to that matter too. He noted that “no issue has been brought to a closure”, also adding that this is a matter of “domestic-internal discussion which has a military character on one hand and business side on the other, as this matter also applies to the Polish shipbuilding industry”.
The concept pertaining to acquisition of the Adelaide Frigates that are 25-years old from Australia has been quite controversial. The Polish Industrial Lobby [Polskie Lobby Przemysłowe] issued a statement suggesting that spending the money on those warships could hamper building of new vessels at the Polish shipyards, while framework and reasoning for selection of these warships are “completely unclear”.
Many doubts emerge when it comes to their combat capabilities as well. Despite the upgrades, the frigates still use the AN/SPS-49 2D radar used for initial engagement phase, and thus they cannot fully utilize the potential offered by the SM-2 and ESSM anti-aircraft systems. Poland was offered to buy the last two vessels of the class available, launched in 1992 and 1993 respectively.
Acquisition of frigates has not been a part of the Technical Modernization Plan. No cost data is known, when it comes to the purchase, however, some estimates suggest that amounts ranging from 2 to 4 billion zlotys would be required to cover the acquisition project. Also, no data is available when it comes to lifecycle cost of the frigates. One should also note that operational support would be provided mainly by external entities.