Armed Forces

Polish Armed Forces Procure Javelin Missiles and Plan to Purchase Pirat ATGM

Photo. Armament Agency

The Armament Agency has signed an annex to the contract on the delivery of Javelin ATGMs. The Spokesman for the Agency, Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek, said that a test lot of the Polish Pirat ATGM would also be ordered. The next step would be to pursue the R&D effort within the framework of the Pustelnik programme, allowing for the development of a domestic ATGM system, based on solutions already available in the Polish industrial portfolio.

As the Armament Agency stated, the annex refers to the delivery of another 50 Javelin system launcher units, coming in a form of the Light Weight Command Launch Unit (LWCLU), along with ca. 500 FGM-148F Javelin missiles - the same variant, as the one procured within the framework of the first agreement, along with extra training and logistics package. The concluded annex increases the total order value up to USD 158 million net. The deliveries tied to the equipment contracted for the Territorial Defence Forces would be completed by 2026.

The first agreement related to the Javelin ATGM was signed in 2020, and it covered the procurement of 60 CLU systems and 180 missiles. The value of that contract was USD 54.5 million. The Armament Agency does stress, that the plans tied to the anti-tank capabilities include the Ottokar-Brzoza (tank destroyer using the Brimstone ATGM, a framework agreement was signed last year, with prototypes expected this year), and the Pirat programmes.

When it comes to the Pirat missile, a test lot is to be ordered in the upcoming months. Then, within the framework of the Pustelnik programme, an R&D effort would be launched, aimed at developing a modern domestic ATGM design. The Armament Agency assumes that the results of the Pirat programme, as well as other domestic developments in the ATGM domain, would be put into use here. The system delivered is to be fully tailored to the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces.

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The Javelin ATGM is a US-made "fire-and-forget" anti-tank system, developed by the Javelin Joint Venture, involving Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. The missile can destroy targets at a distance from 2.5 to 4 kilometres, depending on the variant. Its guidance unit utilizes a thermal imaging seeker. The missile is a fire-and-forget system with both top-attack and direct-attack capabilities. The Javelin ATGM is commonly operated by the USA and its allies. They have also seen combat use in Ukraine. The procurement of the Javelin ATGM is happening without any Transfer of Technology involved.

The Pirat ATGM, meanwhile, is a Polish ATGM system developed by Mesko, jointly with the CRW Telesystem-Mesko entity, within the framework of an R&D project. Pirat is a laser-guided missile. It can be employed in direct attack and top attack settings. Pirat can be used at ranges of up to 2.5 kilometres. The missile utilizes a Polish, yet NATO-compliant guidance system. The above means that the Pirat ATGM's target designation unit can also designate a target for other systems that are NATO-compliant (including artillery PGMs, or GBUs). Meanwhile, allied systems can be used to designate targets for the Pirat missiles.

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Pirat has also been integrated on the ZM Tarnów's RCWS integrated on an unmanned platform. All solutions listed here, including the guidance unit, are controlled by domestic entities. Furthermore, the Pirat system is to be less costly than other anti-tank assets operated by the Polish Armed Forces. That should make it easier to attain a higher saturation of the inventory with the anti-tank missiles, also when scenarios present themselves in which heavy ATGMs are not a must - for instance when there is a need to neutralize targets that do not require heavier weapons, such as infantry fighting vehicles, or armoured personnel carriers. The experience gathered in Ukraine shows that the lighter platforms constitute the bulk of the ATGM targets.

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