18 years after the keel-laying ceremony, the ORP Ślązak patrol corvette has been finally commissioned. The “Gawron” corvette keel-laying ceremony took place on 28th November 2001 at the Gdynia Naval Shipyard, in presence of PM Leszek Miller, head of the National Security Bureau, Marek Siwiec, and head of the MoD, Jerzy Szmajdziński. The programme has finally been accomplished on 28th November 2019 when commissioning ceremony concerning the ORP “Ślązak” patrol corvette took place, in the presence of the head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak.
This is the second new vessel that has been transferred to the Polish Navy over the last two years. ORP “Kormoran” MCMV, preceding Ślązak, was commissioned on 28th November 2017. Back then, and this year as well, the commissioning was a part of celebrations pertaining to anniversary of forming of the Polish Navy.
Originally Ślązak was designed to be a multi-mission corvette with anti-aircraft and ASW assets, as well as anti-ship missiles, integrated onboard. The keel for that vessel was laid back in 2001. Back then no decision was made with regards to missile systems and combat system. With the project being financially understated since the very beginning, this has been the cause of prolonged build. Numerous technical issues were troubling the builders during the process. Financing was also being limited, despite the fact that it has been insufficient since the very beginning of the process.
In February 2012 the process came to a halt, but in late 2012 the decision was changed. Ultimately, annex of the agreement concerning building of a patrol vessel instead of a corvette was signed in September 2013. The agreement has been a subject to annexation later on as well. Ultimately the vessel has passed the trials and was commissioned in November.
Ślązak is a patrol vessel. It is 95 meters long, 13 meters wide and has displacement of 1800 tonnes. Its top speed is said to be around 30 knots. Its armament includes 76 mm OTO Melara naval gun, two 30 mm Marlin-WS cannons, four Grom VSHORAD missile launchers and four .50-cal. machine guns. The vessel features an expansive CIC and surveillance suite (SMART-S Mk 2 3D radar, STING-EO Mk 2 fire control radar and Mirador EO fire control/observation suite). In the future, should the Polish MoD be willing to do so, Ślązak may be easily fitted with a VLS solution for anti-aircraft missiles, as the design permits the vessel to accommodate a system as such.