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Industry

WB Group Increases Manufacturing of Loitering Munitions and Beyond

Waran 4x4 and Gladius UAV launcher.
Photo. Antoni Walkowski

The WB Group is expanding its manufacturing efforts for the Polish Armed Forces and export customers at an unprecedented scale. Statement as such was made in front of the media, during the annual meeting of the Groups’s management with the journalists - also attended by a representative of Defence24.pl.

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According to the information provided, the ZSSW-30 turret - built in consortium of HSW (leader) and WB Group production levels are three times higher, as opposed to the original order. The turrets are being implemented on the Rosomak APC. The manufacturer expects the volume of orders to go higher, given the launch of the Rosomak-L platform production (Rosomak MLU). The WB Group also praised the quality and production tempo, when it comes to electrooptical systems for the turrets, supplied by the PGZ’s PCO company. The ZSSW-30 turret is one of the best solutions in its class, and it seems that it also stands a chance of becoming an attractive export offering.

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At the same time, we could have witnessed an increased production of unmanned systems. 80 FlyEye UAV sets (each with 3-4 UAVs) would be manufactured this year. 200 are expected to be manufactured in 2024. The situation regarding the Warmate loitering munitions is similar - 2 thousand systems are to be manufactured this year, while 4 thousand plus is the expected quantity for the upcoming year.

So far, most of the Warmate systems (90-95%) are being procured by export customers, and a sales increase is expected in this domain. First, the unmanned platforms have proven themselves in combat in Ukraine, and they are being modified based on the priceless wartime experience. Secondly, Warmate has just been assigned the NSN (NATO Stock Number) - identifying the material products for the NATO forces. This would translate into a simplified procurement process for these systems in NATO countries, and the same applies to logistics and spares. Meanwhile, when it comes to domestic orders, the WB Group anticipates more orders to be placed by the Polish Ministry of Defence, regarding the Warmate system.

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Furthermore, an R&D effort is underway, pertaining to the Gladius suite designed for the artillery units, the commissioning of which is expected to begin in the upcoming years. President Piotr Wojciechowski announced that the aforesaid programme is progressing as planned, similar to the cryptic Gladius 2 programme, but no details have been disclosed regarding the latter. WB Group's representatives also referred to the presence of Waran vehicles with Gladius system (command vehicle, antenna vehicle/launcher), during a static exhibition at the PGE Narodowy stadium, accompanying the Armed Forces Day parade. As it turns out, WB is the key customer procuring these vehicles at HSW.

At the same time, the K9 howitzers, K2 main battle tanks, HIMARS and Chunmoo MLRS systems are all undergoing polonization. The process involves the implementation of the Topaz fire control system. There is also an increasingly higher probability that the Polish system would also be implemented in the export products. This stems from the unique experience gathered regarding the use of Topaz in wartime conditions, with a high degree of lethality, and the different design philosophies adopted for the system (radio-centric, not net-centric, as in the case of competing designs). The WB Group claims that the solution has no competition whatsoever, globally, as no other product utilizes a similar set of baseline assumptions.

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When it comes to Topaz, one needs to point out that the system has undergone certification for becoming a part of NATO command networks. The said process is to be ultimately finalized later this year. This refers to the international ASCA standard, at procedural and technological levels. WB also announced its winning bid in the command vehicle (codename Zawilec) procurement. The Group also managed to sell the Topaz system to a new export customer recently - Bulgaria.

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