Orka submarines or even the gap-filler submarine acquisition programme are not to be the first procurement that the Polish Navy would be making in the foreseeable future. Miecznik-class coastal defence vessel will be the priority, as Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish MoD, announced via his Twitter account.
Błaszczak also announced that procurement of the “gap-filler” submarines would depend on the Swedish offering. He signaled that adjustment of price and the procurement timeline is required here.
“Negotiation concerning the Ratownik programme is in progress now, with a consortium formed by: Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa [PGZ Group], PGZ Stocznia Wojenna [PGZ War Shipyard], and OBR CTM S.A." - Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Armament Inspectorate told us.
The above means that the statement made by Błaszczak is aligned with the directions the MoD may give when it comes to the priorities in the implementation of the naval procurement programmes. This does not have an impact though, on the programmes that are in progress already (i.e. the Ratownik project). It has been going on for some time now, with the price negotiation currently being underway, most probably. It is possible that the statement referred to the fact that any new procurement that would be made by the Navy would be aimed at acquiring a combatant, not a logistics-support vessel.
For now, it remains unclear whether we are dealing with a priority shift (to surface combatants), or the government has been unable to reach an agreement with the Swedes.
The Polish Ministry of Defence announced on 16th February that recommendations are being developed, taking the analytical-conceptual process carried out by the Armament Inspectorate into account - and conclusions gathered during that phase were handed off to the MoD in November last year. As it was announced, the Ministry was to take into account “the aspects tied to the maintenance of the existing and establishment of new capacity, within the Polish defence and shipbuilding industry”.