Poland Will Acquire The Patriot Missile Systems. Caracals Will Undergo Testing In The Military.

The government of Poland adopted the recommendation made by the Ministry of Defence regarding the selection of the Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, within the scope of the Wisła air defence programme. The Ministry also released information, according to which the Eurocopter H225M (EC-725) Carcacal offer was accepted for the test programme, within  the scope of the multi-role helicopter tender. Poland is willing to acquire 5o examples of the helicopter, including 16 in multi-role/transport variant along with 34 specialized rotor-craft. The contract value is estimated to be shaped at the level of PLN 13 billion. 

The Council of Ministers has adopted the Ministry’s of Defence recommendation regarding the medium range anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, also  known as Wisła. The Army of Poland is going to use the Patriot system, manufactured by the Rayethon company, in the future. According to the Secretary of State of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Czesław Mroczek, 2 batteries in the non-modernized variant are to be procured by 2019. The purchase is to be realized in a form of an inter-governmental agreement.

Until 2022 the Polish Army is to receive two systems that would be tailored to the Polish requirements. These would be based on the Patriot NG missile suite. Until 2025 deliveries of another four batteries are to be completed, along with modernization of the first two. A rotational presence of the US Army elements equipped with the missiles is also going to be maintained in Poland as well. The agreement related to procurement of the missiles is to be signed in the summer of 2016, up until then the offset agreement negotiations are going to be carried out.

When it comes to the multi-role helicopters, the H225M Caracal offer got qualified to the next stage of the tender. The competition’s offers were rejected, as Mroczek stated, for formal reasons. According to the information provided by Mroczek, consortium formed by  Sikorsky and PZL Mielec did not include the combat systems in its offers, while PZL Świdnik offered delivery of the first examples of the helicopters 4 years after the contract is to be signed, not in 2 years, as the Ministry of Defence required. The procedures are to be completed in the autumn of 2015, and up until then, the offset agreement is to be negotiated. 50 helicopters are to be acquired, including 16 in cargo-multi-role variant, along with 34 specialized rotor-craft. According to Secretary Mroczek, the contract may have a value of PLN 13 billion.

The procedure regarding the multi-role helicopters involved the following companies: the “EC-725 Caracal-Polska” consortium, consisting of the Airbus Helicopters SAS and the Heli Invest Sp. z o.o. Services S.K.A. companies; a consortium consisting of the Sikorsky International Operations Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, and Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. companies, with the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters, and finally, the PZL Świdnik company, offering the AW-149 helicopter. The test programme regarding the helicopters is going to, according to the MoD’s spokesperson col. Jacek Sońta, take place twice: “Firstly, before the agreement is signed, when the verification procedure is going to be carried out, and secondly, at the moment when the first examples of the required equipment is received (the test proper)”. Sońta stressed the fact that, when it comes to the test programme of the multi-role helicopters, the details are confidential. However, it is clear that the tests are planned to happen at one of the Polish airbases.

The procedure within the scope of the Wisła programme involved two bidders, however, no tender procedure was started. A two-staged technological dialogue had been carried before the negotiations were started. The initial phase of the procedure involved 14 subjects, while the second stage, organized in 2014, involved a consortium led by the Polish Defence Holding, cooperating together with the MBDA and Thales company; Rayethon Company, MEADS International and the Israeli SIBAT Agency.

After the dialogue came to an end, on 30th June 2014, the subsequent stage of the proceedings included the Raytheon company, with the Patriot missile system; and the  Eurosam consortium, consisting of the MBDA and Thales companies, offering the SAMP/T system. The Ministry of Defence claimed that the qualified systems were to be operational and that they also were to be used by the NATO member states.

Details of the offers placed by the companies involved are unknown. The Polish MoD did not disclose the tactical, nor the technical requirements for the future air defence system. However, the available information suggests that the system was to be capable of acting against targets within the full range of angles. It was also to be net-centric and it was to be capable of destroying the SRBM’s.