More Rak Mortars for the Polish Army

Image Credit: Polish Defence Ministry, Huta Stalowa Wola
Image Credit: Polish Defence Ministry, Huta Stalowa Wola

Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish MoD, was present during the contract signinng ceremony organized at HSW S.A., with regards to delivery of new armament that makes it possible to continue the modernization of the Polish Army’s artillery component.

Manufacturing and delivery of 18 M120K self-propelled mortars and 8 AWD artillery command vehicles that would act as the equipment for another two KMO [Company Level Fire Modules] was the subject of the Agreement signed last Friday. The Agreement was signed, on behalf of HSW S.A. and Rosomak S.A., by Bartłomiej Zając, President of the Management Board at HSW S.A., and Brig. general Dariusz Pluta, head of the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD. The deliveries are expected to be finalized in 2020 and 2021.

The unofficial rumors pertaining to optional extension of the April 2016 Rak procurement contract have been circulated since quite some time now. However, no clear information has been given when it comes to the scale of the potential order. Notably, the April 2016 deal covered the acquisition of 8 KMO (Company Level Fire Module) elements with 64 self-propelled mortar platforms and 32 command vehicles. Further agreements were also signed concerning AWRU (Artillery Armament Repair Vehicle) and AWA (Artillery Ammunition Vehicles), within the framework of the first series of procurement effort, being an extension of the April 2016 deal. However, just recently, after the MSPO 2019 exhibition in Kielce, HSW S.A. was officially invited to negotiate a new deal. It was also confirmed at the time that the Polish Ministry of Defence remains interested in acquisition of another two KMO elements, however, these are expected to be configured as in case of the 2016 deal, namely, including 2x8 examples of the Rak mortars, 2x4 examples of AWD command vehicles, and 2 extra mortar platforms for the  Artillery and Armament Training Centre in the city of Thorn (Toruń).

For legal reasons (single source procurement, without a tendering procedure could have only been a continuation of the April 2016 procurement), no optional acquisition of module no. 9 and 10 extra equipment was envisaged (AWRU and AWA vehicles). Both vehicle types have already been ordered (8 AWRU vehicles have already been delivered by HSW S.A., while 24 AWA platforms would be delivered by 2020) as a supplement to the KMO elements that had been ordered previously.

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

The technical support vehicles and ammunition carriers for the new modules would be a subject to a separate procedure, and no specific timeline has been provided within that regard. It is possible that the above may take place before it becomes possible to procure the AWR artillery reconnaissance vehicles.   The prototype of that vehicle is to be created this year, still, several months would be needed to finalize the qualification tests programme. The project is planned to be finalized in 2020. Final shape of the Rak company-level fire module is to consist of 8 M120K mortars, 4 AWD command vehicles, 2 AWR reconnaissance vehicles and 3 AWA ammunition carriers, as well as a single AWRU repairs/overhauls vehicle. The latter platforms are to utilize Jelcz trucks as the base.

The announcement released recently by the MoD, concerning the acquisition of ammunition carriers for the Rak modules, suggests that the module shall also include an ARV. However, no details are available at this point. 

“Rak” is a Polish design created by the Polish engineers. The platform has received a lot of praise from the commanders and the users. Not only are the soldiers proud of the system, as allied units are also admiring its nature. This is not the last order we have placed with the Polish defence industry. HSW and PGZ face a great prospect and I would like to congratulate them on doing their job well.

Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish MoD

The value of the agreement signed on 11th October is defined as PLN 275.5 million. The price also includes training services rendered by HSW. This has been yet another order awarded to HSW S.A. over the recent years. Since April 2016 the company has secured multi-billion zlotys contracts. 

Regina and Rak programmes see a transfer of 6 billion zlotys to the HSW account from the MoD’s budget. Regardless of those deals, HSW is also providing the military with spares or engineering equipment (SŁ-24 loaders for instance). The company is maintaining its legacy products, such as the tracked engineering reconnaissance vehicles. HSW S.A. is also involved in R&D efforts concerning several types of new equipment (Borsuk IFV, ZSSW-30, Baobab-K) that bear a strategic importance for the MoD. Finally, HSW is going to participate in the Wisła programme as well, in a role of the future manufacturer of the M903 launcher. HSW’s Jelcz company also acts as the primary supplier of vehicles for the Polish military.

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

The above would however translate into centrally-financed work and orders. Meanwhile, when it comes to the KMO Rak programme, not only does the extension of the order mean that continuity of manufacturing is maintained, as, as Bartłomiej Zając, President of the Management Board at HSW S.A. suggests, pausing the production and resuming it later would also drive the price up.  This would happen as cooperation bond with at least several domestic and foreign partners would need to be reestablished. Thanks to the agreement, fluid nature of manufacturing would be maintained, while cost would be optimized, also from the MoD’s point of view. 

Only a day later, HSW S.A. decided to begin the final phase of the first contract signed in April 2016, concerning the Rak systems. The work proceeds in line with the agreement and schedule. 

We are finalizing the deliveries of the eighth fire module, within the framework of the first Rak modules agreement. And today, we are signing another order concerning that product. The contract has been negotiated over the course of two months, however, relevant preparatory steps leading towards submission of the offer have been going on since some time now. I would like to thank everybody here: head of the MoD, PGZ Group and HSW S.A. employees and the representatives of the military.

Bartłomiej Zając, President of the Management Board and General Director at HSW S.A.