Mesko Develops New Rockets and Missiles for the Polish Army
New Polish Pirat guided missile and 70 mm unguided rockets for the helicopters have been the most important points considered, during the visit of the Deputy Minister of Defence Czesław Mroczek, at the Mesko facility and at the base of the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade.
Last year the Mesko facility received funds, PLN 47 million, to realize two projects, namely: “development and implementation of a light system with a guided missile, with a range of 2.5 km, a.k.a. Pirat” and “creating Polish Rocket Fuel Centre”. Visit of the Deputy Minister Mroczek was related to realization of these programmes in Skarżysko-Kamienna, but it has also covered the wider future plans regarding the ammunition manufactured at the facility, not only within the scope of meeting the national demands. A lot has been said also regarding the export plans related to the Grom Anti-Aircraft systems. Options of getting export rights regarding the Spike anti-tank missiles manufactured by Mesko are also being analysed.
When it comes to new plans, development of new missiles, such as the portable Pirat missile systems, which have been described by the commander and rector of the Military University of Technology, Brig. Gen. prof. Zygmunt Mierczyk, PhD Hab. Eng, is considered to be quite relevant. The shoulder-fired Pirat light missile system is a joint project carried out by the MUT and Mesko.
The system purpose is to act against a variety of targets with the use of thermobaric, high-explosive and shaped-charge warheads at distances of up to 2500 m, with a possibility of doubling the range in case of the missile’s heavier derivatives, which can be used with helicopters and vehicles. Guidance system is to be laser-based. Cost of the new weapon is to be three times smaller than it is in case of the Spike missiles, with weight of one missile at the level of 10 kg, and weight of the whole set contained within ca. 15 kg. The budget allocated to that programme between 2015 and 2018 is as much as PLN 15 million.
Another important programme which is realized by the Mesko company, in the field of rockets, is the development of the launchers and rockets that come in the standard NATO caliber of 70 mm. So far, the Polish helicopters have been using 57 and 80 mm unguided missiles, which come from the Post-Soviet arsenals. Along with introduction of a new multi-purpose helicopter, 70 mm NATO rockets will become the standard armament, and these rockets are to be manufactured domestically.
These are better within the scope of accuracy and tactical and technical parameters. Currently, the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade uses both unguided missiles, as well as multi-rail launchers. Test firing programme involving the W-3PL Głuszec helicopters is being currently carried out. Mesko also states that the company is planning to develop 70 mm laser guided missiles, which are to be significantly cheaper than the heavy guided missiles. The new weapon system would make it possible to precisely strike targets e.g. in an urbanized area.