Head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak has just signed documents launching the warships procurement process, organized within the Miecznik programme. The expected number of warships to be acquired is already known. Some suggestions have also been made, when it comes to their combat capacity.
The head of the MoD stated that three “coastal defence” warships would be built. The number is aligned with the declarations that had been made concerning the Miecznik programme in the past. It can also be said that the Navy would be acquiring three frigates (see the information released by the MoD last month, and the tweets of the head of the MoD).
Mariusz Błaszczak also stated that “each of the warships would have firepower at its disposal, exceeding that of the Naval Missile Unit”. This could be interpreted as a statement suggesting that the Miecznik class frigates would be equipped with numerous anti-ship missiles.
The Naval Missile Unit has two squadrons at its disposal, each comprising of six NSM launchers, with the launchers carrying a payload of 4 missiles each, in the launch containers. This amounts to up to 48 missiles in total, on the launchers, plus spare missiles. The statement suggesting that the warships would have greater firepower at their disposal means that they would be armed to teeth.
Most probably they would come with the universal VLS launch systems, allowing them to carry anti-ship (and other, including surface-to-air) missiles. US-made “Arleigh Burke” class destroyers, for instance, have 96 cells as such at their disposal. Thus, this may be viewed as firepower greater than the one associated with the Naval Missile Unit. A large frigate with several VLS cells would be aligned with the statements made.
Rozpoczynamy procedurę zakupu 3 okrętów obrony wybrzeża #Miecznik. Podpisałem stosowne dokumenty. Każdy z okrętów będzie miał siłę rażenia większą niż używana w Marynarce Wojennej Morska Jednostka Rakietowa. Chcemy, aby umowa została zawarta do połowy bieżącego roku. pic.twitter.com/mnVM4NQGzp— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) March 15, 2021
On the other hand, the above could also refer to all of the missiles, short-range air defence effectors included - 4 of such missiles can fit in a single VLS cell usually. In such a case, even less than 48 VLS cells could create “greater firepower” - should short range missiles be taken into account. One should also remember that the recent declarations made by the Polish Ministry of Defence suggest that Miecznik is to have significant air defence capabilities at hand.
Selection of the contractor - and probably, the foreign partner for the programme who would assist Poland in building a warship as such - shall happen during the upcoming months. Minister Błaszczak said that the Polish Ministry of Defence is willing to sign a relevant agreement concerning that matter by mid-2021. The deadline comes in 3.5 months then.
Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence seems to be determined here. “I will be supervising this process. I will not let it happen for the price to be overestimated. I will also not let it happen for the requirements to be overstated. We have been dealing with two problems over the recent years. On one hand, the contractor was overpricing the product, on the other, the requirements of the military were too high”, as we can read in tweets posted by the Polish Ministry of Defence, quoting the Minister.