Missile Defence at the Crossroads? General Adam Duda in an interview with, concerning the Wisła Programme Negotiations and the Technological Modernization Programme

Image Credit: Maciej Nędzyński/DKS MON
Image Credit: Maciej Nędzyński/DKS MON

- When it comes to the medium range systems (Wisła programme), two critical requirements are defined. This is a net-centric profile and 360 degrees coverage of the radar - these two issues make our decisions delayed - as it is stressed by Brig. General Adam Duda, in his interview with Head of the Armament Inspectorate presents the current status of the key modernization programmes, implemented by the Polish Army.

Jędrzej Graf: General, the highest interest of the public is definitely related to the acquisition of the Caracal helicopters. We know that an offset negotiation is currently in process. However, considering the declarations made by the new leadership of the Polish Ministry of Defence, is the Armament Inspectorate carrying out any analysis regarding a new potential procurement procedure, the aim of which would be e.g. to acquire specialized maritime helicopters?

Brig. General Adam Duda, PhD: Yes, this is true. The key portion of negotiations is being carried out, as we speak, at the Ministry of Development. Referring to your question, when it comes to the Armament Inspectorate, we are not carrying out any other procurement procedure, in order to acquire specialized variants of helicopters. We are going to start such procedure, should we receive the requirementsand we do not have such data today. Such works must begin at the General Staff which would have to redefine the assumptions, or draft new ones. Our job is to deal with the analytical-conceptual phase, once the General Staff prepares the operational requirements (prospective needs), or once tactical and technical requirements are defined by the administration (ongoing needs).

Today, no specialized analysis is being carried out, outside the scope pertaining to potential implications of a situation, in which the agreement is not potentially signed, due to the fact that no grounds exist, on which such analysis could be initiated.

And what does the situation look like in case of the Kruk attack helicopter programme? Recently, some information emerged suggesting that the tender has already been finalized.

This is not true. I treat these revelations as one of the elements of the media chaos, created in order to show that Poland considers procurement of only a single helicopter, and that no competition in that field exists. I repeat, this information is not corresponding with the real status of the procedure, it is beneficial for only a single manufacturer.

When it comes to the Armament Inspectorate, we are currently finalizing the phase, within which the requirements are defined. The Inspectorate has done its job pertaining to this issue. Ministry-internal arrangements are being discussed at the moment. The first arrangements conference has already taken place. It seems that requirements will be confirmed and approved in one or two weeks.

At the moment, four proposals are being analysed within a feasibility study. Moreover, we have also to make a decision whether we should organize a public tender for four companies, with a prospect of selecting two potential contractors, or whether we should rather carry out a procedure concerning e.g. an intergovernmental agreement. At the moment, no decisions have been made referring to those issues. We will rather be inclined to maintain competitiveness, for as long as possible.

The problem stems from the fact that two products come from the Foreign Military Sales procedure, and two remaining ones are commercially available – here I mean the Tiger and the Turkish offer. Within the framework of FMS we may acquire the US made products which are not going to be available through a typical procurement procedure, described by Decision 367/MON. The US Government is not an offering party which submits its offer in the procedure. In the United States, within the framework of the FMS procedure, the situation is reversed – we send a request to them, and receive an agreement proposal, which is then accepted or not.

We shall remember that price and delivery schedule pertaining to such proposal are just rough estimates. No contractual penalties exist – these are the rules of FMS. If we decide to proceed with a competition-based procurement, we will need to create a procedure dedicated and tailored to such a tender, and describe that procedure and its steps in a situation, in which an offer made by the US government would be compared to a commercial proposal.

It is said that technology transfer options, or even collaboration options available within the Kruk programme are limited, and know-how transfer probably will not take place.

I do not want to give any comment on that issue, since the offset assumptions concerning the helicopters are developed by the bureau dealing with the offset agreements at the Polish Ministry of Defence. The knowledge within that area comes from the initial declarations and talks, rather at the political level, not within the offset procedure.

Let’s move on to negotiations pertaining to the Wisła system.At what stage are the talks regarding the medium range air defences?

Dialogue with the United States is in progress, mainly covering the potential industrial collaboration.

The Americans know the Polish requirements within that scope. At the moment, we are waiting for further information from our US partners, regarding the detailed shape of their offer, especially within the scope of the offered industrial collaboration. In parallel, the Polish Ministry of Defence is involved in talks with other interlocutors.

In such case, doesn’t the procedure include the Patriot Next Generation or Patriot POL systems, compliant with the requirements of the Polish Ministry of Defence, anymore? Was that stage finalized last year?

This version has been excluded, since Poland cannot afford to pay for the project implemented with this formula. This is not a project which is acceptable for us price-wise, we cannot afford to finance the works which still need to be completed. If the Americans decided to financially support Poland and finalize the modernization, maybe this option could be reconsidered. Without such assistance, we cannot afford to acquire this variant. 

We have not sent LOR, however in parallel, a dialogue involving the industry, mainly the Raytheon and Lockheed Martin companies, is being carried out, within the scope of technology transfer which, in the eyes of the Ministry, is not satisfactory [now]. This is the main issue determining the further steps.

During the meeting of the Parliamentary Subcommittee Dealing With Modernization of the Armed Forces and the Polish Defence Industry, you stated that PDB-8 configuration of the Patriot system has a track proven record, and that it is being already utilized by the US Army, even though the system is still being tested, and operational tests have not been initiated.

I maintain my statement, PDB-8 variant is at the testing stage and it is going to be used in the United States of America. No doubts here. The technological risk in this case is acceptable, since this system will undergo modifications in an ongoing manner. Should we make a decision, this version is going to be made available to Poland.

How do you assess this proposal in the context of the needs of the Polish Army and the development options?

Let me repeat, technological risks involved, in this case, are low. We should remember that IBCS is one of our requirements, and this is not a product delivered by Raytheon. This company would rather see their own command system applied within the procured air defence suite. For us, the net-centric capability is very important, and this requirement will remain in place. Moreover, we still consider our system’s coherence, with the system used by the US Army, as one of the relevant issues. We do not want to be in possession of a system which is unique. In the light of the above, within the context of the further decision, AOA analysis carried out in the US is going to be important, within the scope of modernization of the Patriot system radar.

What’s interesting, test programme concerning the IBCS system is still in progress, in the United States.

Correct. This means that if we transfer the LOR now, the United States may not be willing to submit any proposal within that scope, until the test programme in the US comes to a positive end. From our point of view, no risk of receiving a product which is not compliant with the requirements exists. In line with the rules followed in the US, Washington cannot sell a product which has not been verified domestically. Thus we may be confident that the Patriot system that we are going to receive will come in a PDB-8 variant, the same version that is going to be – probably – used by the Americans, after the test programme comes to an end.

Is any scenario or analysis is being carried out, assuming that Wisła and Narew systems share the command suite? For example, in a way that Fire Control Radar of the “Narew” SHORAD would be capable of finding targets for the Wisla launcher?

We have been considering that, but at the moment the systems are separate, no requirements exist within the scope of application of common sensors. Of course, net-centric condition is still in place, however one should remember that the two systems have a completely different purpose. Narew is going to be used at the elements level, by air defence regiments working together with divisions or mobile tactical operational groups. Wisła is going to be used against a completely different threat. It is going to be applied, above all, within the scope of protecting the elements of critical infrastructure.

Ultimately, Wisła and Narew are expected to be integrated into a single common multilayered air defence system.

I want to stress it – at the moment such integration is ensured by relevant data exchange protocols and creation of a network – through provision of the net-centric capabilities. Obviously, this does not mean that configuration of the “Narew” and “Wisła” systems is going to be different, with less radars in place.

In case of jamming or interruption of communications, each unit shall be capable of destroying the target autonomously, hence the quantity of the multi-function radars applied. We want each unit – the multifunctional radar and battle management station, and at leas a single launcher – to remain ready to operate with the use of wire-based connections – in extreme cases of course.

If we suspend the Wisla programme in the light of the cost, and start the procurement with the Narew system, will we still be able to attain interoperability?

Yes, due to the compliance present within the data exchange protocol, and due to the fact that open systems are being built. Such architecture allows us to attach further elements later. [The] Patriot [system], without the IBCS, is a closed structure, which does not have an ability to control other systems. The battle management station would not make the operator able to launch short and medium range missiles interchangeably.

However, at the moment we do not have medium range air defence capabilities and missile defence capabilities at our disposal. In the light of the above, it is assessed that selection of the Narew system shall be motivated by the decisions made within the framework of procurement of the Wisła suite.

Within the scope of the Narew system negotiations, a need to obtain such capabilities is seen.

Correct. If we look at those systems, they are not being constructed as packages. They are separate elements which, only at the later stages, are integrated by the battle management station. NASAMS is a good example here. It includes the Sentinel radar, along with the AMRAAM air to air missile. It was the Norwegians who have integrated these two elements and beyond. This system may also include other missiles and radars, since a variety of data exchange protocols has been implemented there.

In case of the Narew system, a great challenge is posed by the negotiations and by the technology transfer for the Polish industry. The ambitions of the Ministry of Defence are much higher within that scope.

Here it is the industry that inspires the Ministry. If we see any adaptability, we want to create it [the technologies] in Poland. In February this year we have issued a RFI to potential suppliers, as a part of the technical dialogue. In March, we have received the replies, the review of which is going to be taken into account within the recommendations stemming from the analytical-conceptual phase. This phase was to make the information already obtained more detailed. We wanted to know exactly, within what scope the contractor would be ready to provide us with a technology transfer, concerning the effectors. Will we obtain a closed, or an open license? Is this even possible to manufacture the missile, and on what grounds would that be possible? Will we be able to offer the missile to the third parties?

In the meantime, operational requirements have been changed by the General Staff. This meant that the configuration should include a passive location system, along with early detection radars.

I understand that changes implemented by the Staff were to expand the industry’s role in the project?

Yes, here we wanted to include the [Polish] PCL-PET and P-18 PL systems within the air defence suite.

National Centre for Research and Development is working on a new radar for the Narew system too. Four radar-focused projects received a funding exceeding PLN 300 million. According to the schedule, the radar should be ready by 2017, however we will not meet that deadline. This is a result of the fact that the Army needs to precisely define the requirements.

In case of Wisła, is the situation in the US forcing us to be flexible, within the scope of adaptability of the requirements?

Correct. When it comes to the medium range systems (Wisła programme), two critical requirements are defined. This is a net-centric profile and 360 degrees coverage of the radar – these two issues make our decisions delayed.

Two available variants are present here. Poland may decide to acquire the PDB-8 in the available variant and wait for the situation to change. We know though that, at some point in the future, we will have to tailor this system to the same set of standards. Second option is a waiver, and return to negotiations with other potential contractors. All depends – as mentioned above – on the result of the threats analysis and on the time constraints. 

At what stage Homar rocket programme is?

The programme is currently negotiated with a consortium led by HSW [Huta Stalowa Wola - Stalowa Wola Ironworks]. We have a precise plan defined, and I may reveal that we know exactly what we would like to obtain from our potential partners, when it comes to the technology. Unfortunately, the delays stem from a fact that HSW is deeply involved in other “programmes”. They are currently working on numerous projects, including the ones concerning the Krab, Kryl or Rak systems. In my opinion, this is a lot of work. I hope that the HSW expert team will prepare the offer details quickly, since Homar is very important to us.

What does the situation look like within the scope of the overhauls and modernization of the Leopard 2A4 tanks? What is the general expected cost of this programme? Are any additional agreements expected as well?

The cost, within the scope of modernization, shall remain unchanged. It was determined on the basis of the offer submitted by the consortium. No path exists, which could increase the value of this programme in the modernization area. 

The overhaul issues are the only ones that could be potentially vary. Here, I mean the maintenance works pertaining to some of the tanks. These costs could have been estimated, with determination of a fixed amount, however this option is never profitable. As we know, the fixed amount is always higher than the expense expected, considering the fact that all the risks shall be taken into account. This means that any risk is contained within the cost. Thus we have selected a variant with a clearly defined scope of modernization. Additional costs are going to be related to the resulting overhauls. 

Can you tell us something more about the improved armour? Are these elements covered by the value of the contract?

These are restricted issues, I am bound by a confidential agreement here. I may only state that the solution we will get will be very good. The additional armour is a subject of quote, it is contained within the agreement. The Armament Inspectorate is going to be responsible for organizing the test programme and live-firing. We cannot rely solely on the results provided by the supplier, we want to verify that. The methodology of the test programme is still being arranged, but the information concerning the location and date will not be publicized.

In the light of the representations made e.g. by Bartosz Kownacki, I wanted to ask whether the Armament Inspectorate carries out any analyses pertaining to creation of a light and heavy Borsuk IFV? Is Poland going to make efforts towards acquisition of a foreign chassis for this platform?

Borsuk is a programme which is being implemented by HSW [Huta Stalowa Wola]. The requirements pertaining to that vehicle are clear, and they are being followed by the aforementioned facility. Those requirements are applied at the stage of feasibility study related to the terms of reference, which means that concepts to be considered are being currently described. According to my knowledge, foreign solutions are also taken into account. In case of Borsuk, no changes have been made when it comes to the requirements. These changes – as mentioned earlier – would have to be introduced by the General Staff.

Gepard platform is, for sure, undergoing changes. I am not sure about the direction of those changes, however the analysis carried out so far shows that 35 tonnes, with 2 tonnes of modernization reserve for the Close Support Vehicle, with determined survivability solutions and cannon, is not a variant which may be realistically implemented.

The Minister accepted redefinition of the operational requirements, and this process is being currently carried out by the General Staff.

And what is the situation regarding the UAVs? Rumours have emerged suggesting that the Zefir programme would be cancelled, while Israeli designs are going to be procured at the tactical level.

I cannot confirm this information. The “Gryf” procurement request has been submitted and received by the Defence Minister. It has not been returned yet. Hence, no decisions have been made up until now. Within the scope of Zefir, the terms of reference are still being arranged within the Ministry.

Let’s cover the topic of the Polish Navy. Did the Armament Inspectorate receive four offers regarding the Miecznik- and Czapla-class vessels, or maybe more offers were received?

Yes, they are being analysed now, we will verify them. PGZ received only four offers, we received those proposals and we will analyse them thoroughly.

Is the analysis of the shipyard industry capabilities, which was to be carried out by the inspectorate, within the area of the naval programmes, ready yet? What are the conclusions of the said analysis?

Yes, this analysis is complete. Soon, I will sign it and pass it on to the Minister. I cannot make any public statement on that topic now. 

A special group analysing the Navy modernization has been established, under the jurisdiction of the National Security Bureau. New concepts emerge, suggesting that the Navy shall acquire frigates, instead of smaller vessels. What is your stance towards these postulates, should they be taken into account, would the relevant programmes be significantly delayed?

Should this happen, if such decision is to be taken, this shall be done now. The Naval officers should be listened to within that scope, above all. The question is, do we really have to change our requirements pertaining to the size of those vessels so often? If the General Staff and the Navy Inspectorate state that three coastal defence vessels and three patrol vessels would be sufficient, implementing any changes, changing the ship size to a larger class, would be awkward.

Referring to your question: Yes. Changing these requirements today would result in more delays, not months-long, but they should be counted in years.

In the public sphere some questions arise – why, despite the Ślązak vessel delays, the Armament Inspectorate selected the Polish Naval Shipyard as the contractor who is to create the Miecznik-class coastal defence vessels and Czapla-class patrol-minehunters?

The Inspectorate did not select this shipyard. This was a result of implementation of national security plans, the details of which are confidential.

The Inspectorate, and I am certain here, did not negate those decisions, however we also do not make decisions as to who receives the order. This is being realized in a tendering procedure, or the orders are awarded in line with the national security justification, and they are received by entities indicated in that justification. This is the implemented mechanism. The justification is created by a team, then it is approved by the Polish Minister of Defence.

Leadership of the Polish Ministry of Defence explicitly states that the cost of the current technological modernization plan has been underestimated. This confirms the public discussions showing that the assets available are too modest, in comparison with the expenditure to be covered and tasks to be realized. In the light of the above, is the Armament Inspectorate carrying out an analysis, concerning the issue of redefinition of the modernization plan as a whole?

I won’t comment that issue since it is placed within the competency of the planning organ. Here I mean, the P8 Management at the General Staff, which plays the aforementioned role. This organ is responsible for balancing the plan and for making decision as to the content of the plan, following the consultations with the administrator.

I am only able to confirm that the Armament Inspectorate has enough assets to cover its liabilities.

Can you confirm that the cyber-security programme is going to be one of the most important elements of the modernization plan?

In this area, analyses are being currently undertaken. However, at the moment, the cyber-defence operational programme is indeed being defined. National Centre of Cryptology will, most probably, act as the main party implementing the programme. Detailed information within that scope is not yet available. 

The Minister of Defence, recently, has signed a territorial defence concept. Are analyses, pertaining to acquisition of equipment for this component, already being carried out?

Not at the Armament Inspectorate, but such works are carried out by the administrators. I may reveal the fact that only symptoms of that process are currently visible at the Armament Inspectorate, for instance, in a form of increased number of orders related to the individual equipment used by the troops. We have not received the final variant of the plan yet.

Information emerged that the Autosan company is going to take over the responsibility for manufacturing the chassis platforms for the vehicle programmes. What is the level of coordination between the Industry and the Army and the Polish Ministry of Defence?

We should be aware of the fact that this issue is still an initial plan. We should look at the LOTR programme, realized by the AMZ Kutno company, within the framework of a project implemented by the National Centre for Research and Development. Mustang programme, on the other hand, is realized in an open mode. The subject which will be selected within the tender may place its production capability there, but this happens outside the Armament Inspectorate at this stage. If the Polish Armament Group is selected as the contractor, it is the Group’s decision as to who is going to be involved in collaboration, and where the manufacturing process is going to take place. 

What is your stance towards the issue of leasing the submarines from Norway? The Norwegians publicly declined your statement, suggesting that they are ready to provide their own vessels to Poland, for the time when the new submarine would be built.

I still support my statement, claiming that the issue of potential provision or use of a submarine for joint training has been mentioned in negotiations with Norway. These issues were also discussed with other potential partners. However, this is not a must. Nonetheless, aspect as such would have an impact on the final decision.

On 18th April, a Polish delegation visited Norway, with a purpose of bringing our stances, regarding the mutual expectations, together, also covering the issues of the offset agreement, or industrial return. The Norwegians avoid the “offset” term, they are more inclined to apply a term of “industrial return”.

They wanted to get to know our stance, we wanted to get acquainted with their stance, hence the meeting.

There are many signs suggesting that the Ministry is inclined to realize the Orka submarine programme with a foreign partner. Why is the Ministry considering procurement of such vessel, within the framework of international cooperation?

Joint procurement would be beneficial, due to the scale of the order. We buy 3, Norway buys 6 subs. This is a quantity which may offer a scale benefit on purchase, and during servicing. Building a servicing centre is disputable, since it is hard to establish such facility for three vessels, if given vessel is going to be serviced once in every 5 years. Investment of this type would not be reasonable in a full scope for us. However, these issues are going to be further analysed and negotiated with the potential partners.

The cruise missile carrying capacity requirement had been defined by the previous leadership of the Ministry of Defence a long time ago.Later, it was declared that procurement of the missiles is going to be realized separately, and that the submarines will be tailored for implementation of such weaponry.In what way, the issue of equipping the Orka vessels with deterrence weaponry, is shaped at the moment?Is there anything more you can say about the cruise missile requirements?

In this case, no changes happened at the Armament Inspectorate. According to the requirements, the Polish submarines are to be equipped with these missiles. We need to be aware of the circumstances. No vessels of this class, with such missiles, exist around the world. Tomahawk missiles are used in case of nuclear submarines. Obviously, they may be implemented on-board conventional vessels, but here we need time, money and we need to face the technical risk.

Thus, the French offer including the cruise missiles remains, however these missiles are still under development, they are not a finished product. It seems that selection of the submarine will need to be made first, and then, depending on that choice, we would implement the cruise missiles.

I like the Norwegian approach, since it is practical. They have analysed the foreign shipyards which construct and may supply submarines.

The conclusions are similar to our conclusions, they want to procure the submarines from the shipbuilding companies which have confirmed credentials, in the field of constructing such vessels.

Where do we stand then, within the scope of the request that may be transferred to the Americans, regarding the Tomahawk missiles?

The US government wants us to present a platform, on which the missile would be implemented. This is an offensive weapon, not available on any request. This is a strategic piece of armament, we need to present the objectives which are to be achieved, by using this type of a missile.

I must stress it once again, if we stated, from the very beginning, that the vessel is to be capable of carrying the cruise missiles, then only the French offer would be available. Thus, our requirements include preparation for implementation of the missiles, preparing the vessel technically, to accommodate the weapon.

In the BMS system tender, four contractors are present. This is a project which, without any doubt, is important for the Land Forces and for the Polish Industry. Will the agreement be signed this year, or are any delays expected?

We would like to sign this agreement, but we are facing delays generated by further detailed questions, submitted by the individual consortia. At the moment, we are awaiting the initial offers to be placed, until 31st May. Within this term, the initial offer shall be submitted. Any doubts are going to be clarified during the negotiations. We would like the agreement to be signed this year. 

We are also going to solve the problem of the Rosomak vehicles remaining in storage this year, thanks to the fact that Rak mortar agreement has been signed. Moreover, Patria has negotiated a contract with the United Arab Emirates, which is a good thing. Our Rosomak company will manufacture the vehicle for them, thus the quantity which was expected to be acquired this year will be diminished. The wheeled platforms remaining in storage will be used to create the Rak and WRT (Technical Reconnaissance Vehicle) platforms.

Thank you for the conversation.

Jędrzej Graf