Kownacki Visits Stalowa Wola: “We’re going to take care of the Polish industry”. PGZ Deepens Its Collaboration with the Scientists [Report]

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński
Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

We will, as much as possible, and to the maximum extent permissible by the law and by the legal regulations that delimit our work, take care of the Polish industry - as it was stated by Bartosz Kownacki, Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, during the event of signing the agreements by and between the Polish Armaments Group and four universities: Rzeszów University of Technology, Kielce University of Technology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, and Kazimierz Pulaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom.

The event during which the agreement was signed took place on Friday, 28th April, at the seat of the Huta Stalowa Wola S.A. company. This means that more civil research facilities have begun their collaboration with the Polish Armaments Group. The location at which the event took place was not chosen by an accident. HSW SA, since the last year, has been a facility which was awarded with the largest amount of orders, among the PGZ entities, with the portfolio value defined as PLN 5.7 billion. The orders cover procurement of the Regina (155 mm SPH) and Rak (self-propelled 120 mm automatic mortar) artillery systems. However, this is not the exclusive reason for such selection.

As it was stressed and reiterated by the officials attending the ceremony, not only does selection of this specific location honour the idea and achievements of the Polish Central Industrial Region, celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Establishment this year, and entering a period of renaissance, as additional emphasis was placed on determination of the national authorities, seen in the efforts, the goal of which is to interconnect and fuse the defence issues and the potential of the Polish defence industry, and of the Polish research facilities. The formula as such is to finalize the form of the Central Industrial Region implemented before the war, the full introduction of which was interrupted by the the World War II.

The significance of the event was also amplified by the fact that Secretary of State at the Polish MoD, Bartosz Kownacki, as well as the representatives of national and local authorities of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, authorities of the Stalowa Wola district and of the city, and representatives of other PGZ companies, also being awarded with numerous orders, hailing from Tarnów or Nowa Dęba, which also belong to the area of former Central Industrial Region, have all taken part in the ceremony.

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

We will, as much as possible, and to the maximum extent permissible by the law and the legal regulations that delimit our work, take care of the Polish industry. In a way in which the French president or the French presidential candidate does, in a way in which the German Chancellor will do, in a way which is ascribable to the Italian PM - because this is natural for us. So that the orders awarded to the Polish facilities are not solely of a “reproduction” profile, so that the industry is ranked in a proper league - all of the above requires collaboration with the research and scientific institutes, universities and universities of technology. Without that, the industry will have a reproductive and non-competitive profile.

Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki.

The agreements signed are of framework character, defining the fields of collaboration, with more, specific projects to come. The area of joint efforts is going to include cooperation in the field of preparing proper human resources (with a background in technology), for the defence industry. This is to take place both through opening of majors desirable by the defence industry at the Universities, as well as through offering an option of being involved in internships and of gathering the first professional experiences, for the students and for the graduates. The representatives of the individual Universities have made specific and well-defined statements regarding that issue, presenting the competencies and options that remain readily available.

For example, the Catholic University of Lublin has recently initiated a technological major in material engineering, and the said university has a perfectly prepared laboratory array at its disposal. The University has already declared involvement of its potential in execution of joint R&D works in the area of defence. Thanks to the support provided by the Polish Armaments Group, the aforesaid institution is going to organize study programmes that would address the needs of the newly formed Territorial Defence Component of the Polish Army.

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

The Rzeszów University of Technology, with a modern teaching and research facility located in Stalowa Wola, where, since the year 2017, Technological-Mechanical Faculty is to be located, is going to collaborate with the Polish Armaments Group within the scope of R&D projects in the fields of aviation, aerospace, satellite designs, air defence and missile defence, UAVs, C4ISR systems, battlefield management systems, firearms, rockets and artillery. The University also declares that it would support the Polish defence industry in the area of modern and innovative electronics.

Kielce University of Technology, on the other hand, declares to pursue works related to guidance systems, dynamics and control of moving objects, innovative manufacturing techniques and modern materials - all in a collaborative effort undertaken with the defence industry. The field of collaboration additionally includes the composite-engineering area. The R&D and laboratory-related potential of the aforesaid University will allow it to establish a Centre for Research of Unmanned Moving Objects, which is to constitute a support for the defence companies consolidated within the PGZ group.

Kazimierz Pulaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom, which boasts with its rich experience in cooperation with the defence industry, offers the abilities remaining in possession of its Faculty of Mechanics to the PGZ, in the areas of technology, general engineering, operational use of vehicles and physical research. Moreover, the said institution is also going to have its Faculty of Transportation and Electronics involved in cooperation with the PGZ Group, in the area of research and implementation prototyping works related to electronics, electric technologies and electric drive systems.

When one visits the facilities in Stalowa Wola and Tarnów, I see this problem, that a major generation gap appears. Some young people are here, who, most often, leave later on, there is also a major gap, and engineers who are 50 to 60 years old. I am happy with the fact that this memorandum of understanding offers a new view of the potential remaining at disposal of the Polish science, that does not have to be given away to the United States of America, France, England or Germany, that could be utilized here, in a way beneficial for the Polish economy.

Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Bartosz Kownacki.

The second path of strategic importance is seen in cooperation of the industry and research facilities, in the area of R&D works concerning the military technologies. The collaboration would be aimed at both perfecting the innovative solutions related to the design and technologies utilized in innovative products that are currently being developed by the PGZ companies, as well as at the prospective programmes planned to be introduced, with the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces taken into account. Deputy Minister Bartosz Kownacki also assumes that numerous options exist for using the potential created by the agreements concluded, in order to have some of the scientific entities involved in some of the programmes already included within the technical modernization plan. 

The agreements concluded will also facilitate grants acquisition, for research and development initiatives, the goal of which would be to develop innovative solutions in the area of defence. Moreover, it is also assumed that the results of the research studies will be jointly promoted, through joint organization of conferences, training sessions and clinics. The agreements also include the activities, the goal of which would be to widely commercialize the solutions created as a result of the collaboration, which shall be viewed as an added value, both for the scientists, as well as for the defence companies.

Creation of a platform for effective collaboration between the industry and the scientists remains one of the priorities for the Polish Armaments Group. We are counting on the potential of the Polish Academia, engineers and designers. We want the equipment destined to be operated by the Polish Armed Forces to be based, to the highest possible degree, on the Polish technological potential. I am convinced that tightening the cooperation between the Polish Armaments Group and the Academia, in the nearest future, would create specific and well-defined results, in a form of reliable, innovative products for the Polish soldiers, also contributing to construction of competitive position of the Polish defence industry.

Błażej Wojnicz , President of the Board of the PGZ S.A. Company