Bidders Line Up to Deliver the Albatros UAS for the Polish Navy

V-BAT UAV is one of the possible systems that could be procured within the framework of the Albatros program. Image Credit: Martin UAV
V-BAT UAV is one of the possible systems that could be procured within the framework of the Albatros program. Image Credit: Martin UAV

As it stems from the release issued by the spokesman for the Armament Inspectorate, six bidders have initiated their effort aimed at participation in the procurement process pertaining to a tactical short-range UAS for the Polish Navy. Five bids would be selected for further proceeding. As the delivery is to happen in 15 months from the date when the agreement is concluded, solely series-manufactured system manufacturers can be involved in the acquisition in question.

The bidders that applied to participate in the public procurement procedure concerning the VTOL UAVs, also known as Albatros, have been listed below:

  1. UMS Skeldar.
  2. WB Electronics S.A.
  3. WSK „PZL-Świdnik” S.A. together with Leonardo S.p.A.
  4. Schiebel GmbH.
  5. Works 11 Sp. z o.o. and Martin UAV.
  6. Siltec Sp. z o.o.

No technical requirements have been disclosed. However, the technical dialogue concerning the Albatros system that was going on since 2016, suggests that the acquisition concerns a tactical VTOL UAS that can be operated in a land-based and embarked setting. The daytime/night operation capability has been required, overland and over water, with minimized RCS and IR signature. The announcement made in December 2020, concerning the programme in question, read as follows: „The UAVs will be used to equip the Armed Forces with equipment for daytime/night observation in varied environments, including reconnaissance with regards to the enemy forces over the sea, coast, over the land, and in maritime SAR missions with the use of electrooptical sensors and SAR radar sensors.”

It is planned that one system would be acquired, with optional procurement of a second example also being envisaged.

It can probably be confirmed as to what products most of the bidders decided to offer. UMS Skeldar offers the Skeldar V-200 platform, designed and developed jointly by Saab and UMS-Aero (Austrian-Swedish cooperative project). Schiebel Camcopter S-100 is yet another, well-known design here. Both types are operated by several Navies all around the world. Leonardo Helicopters AWHero offered jointly by Leonardo Helicopters and PZL Świdnik is another reputable design here. The platform has gone through a test programme in the Mediterranean, within the framework of the European OCEAN 2020 initiative.

In the case of the three remaining offers, things get quite interesting. Cooperation between Works 11 and Martin UAV suggests that the entities mentioned here would be offering the unconventional V-BAT platform within the tender. It is a fixed-wing platform with ducted pusher propellers that are also used to ensure the UAS’s VTOL capacity - with the aircraft “standing” on its tail. The aircraft in question is currently being tested by the US Navy. When it comes to Siltec’s and WB Electronics’s bids, it is difficult to point to a specific design they could offer.