Pilica Anti-Aircraft Systems for the Polish Army. “Negotiations Underway”

  • Samolot E-6B Mercury wyposażony w system ALCS. Fot. US Navy/Wikipedia
    Samolot E-6B Mercury wyposażony w system ALCS. Fot. US Navy/Wikipedia

The Armament Inspectorate invited ZM Tarnów to take part in the negotiations pertaining the procurement process related to the combined missile-artillery Pilica VSHORAD system.According to the initial arrangements, the desired deadline for completing the deliveries of the initial examples has been defined as 2018. Four subsequent platforms are expected to be received throughout the next two years, while the sixth system is planned to be acquired in 2021.The decision is an effect of finalization of the qualification test process which took place in January this year.

ZM Tarnów facility, which is a part of the Polish Armament Group, was invited by the Armament Inspectorate to take part in negotiations pertaining the conditions which are to be met, within the scope of procurement of the combined missile-artillery Pilica VSHORAD system. At the beginning of January this year, General Sławomir Pączek, Director of the Budgetary Department of the Polish Ministry of Defence declared that the agreement related to acquisition of the Pilica systems is going to be signed by the end of this year.

The system which is being integrated by the Tarnów-based company has been created as a result of the conceptual analyses carried out by the Faculty of Mechatronics and Aviation of the Polish Military University of Technology. The requirements pertaining the design were defined by the leadership of the Air Defence Component of the Polish Armed Forces, at the Polish Ministry of Defence.

A single Pilica platoon is going to be armed with six ZUR-23-2SP Jodek combined missile-artillery anti-aircraft systems, using 23 mm cannons and Grom anti-aircraft missiles. The latter armament is soon going to be replaced by the modernized Piorun MANPADS system. As it has been noted by the ZM Tarnów representatives, the solutions developed by Centrum Rozwojowo-Wdrożeniowe Telesystem-Mesko Sp. z o.o. [Telesystem-Mesko Development and Implementation Centre LLC] contained in the Pilica suite allow the user to use both Grom, as well as Piorun anti-aircraft missiles, interchangeably. The system’s purpose is to protect important areas or facilities (e.g. airbases), within the framework of the national air defence suite.

Pilica systems are configured as an autonomous platoon, they use a computerized fire control system, complemented with additional optronic devices. Grom missile is capable of neutralizing targets at distances of ca. 5 kilometres, while the 23 mm cannon has an effective range of 2 kilometres. In the optimum setting, a single battery is capable of defending an area of 350 square kilometres. PCO S.A company is responsible for the final configuration of the optronics, the provided module features daytime and thermal vision camera, complemented with a laser range-finder.

Pilica is also capable of cooperating with the “Deployable Soła Radar”, manufactured by the PIT-Radwar S.A. company. This has been proven during a field test programme which has been conducted since October 2015. During the test programme, the command post solutions have also been thoroughly verified. According to the manufacturer, the test programme has proven that the design is correct, and that it functions in a proper way. The units of the system were constructed by the ZM Tarnów facility. Research and Development centre of the company created e.g. the safety controller or the autonomous electronic system responsible for weapons control. Drives, steering column, display monitor and on-board computer were also designed and manufactured in Tarnów.

The manufacturer emphasizes the fact that the system’s technology uses 95% of the Polish know-how and production facilities, and that it is exportable, due to the fact that it acts as an effective upgrade for the ZU-23-2 anti aircraft cannon.