The Commanding Unit of the Polish Navy’s Harbour in Świnoujście has signed an agreement with the consortium formed by the PGZ Group, PGZ SW shipyard and Nauta Shiprepair Yard, in order to carry out overhaul and dock repairs, concerning the ORP “Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki” mine countermeasure forces command vessel. We do not know what the exact scope of repairs is going to be, apart from the pricetag: more than PLN 85 million.
Meanwhile one should remember that the works do not concern a combatant, but a vessel designed and manufactured back in 1991 as a degaussing ship (for the Soviet Navy). Then, back in 2001 it was modified and became a logistics support vessel (ORP “Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki”). Over the period between 2008 and 2009 it underwent a costly upgrade and overhaul at the Polish Navy Shipyard, so that the ship could serve as a command vessel for mine countermeasure groups.
The overhaul planned now is justified by a necessity to prepare the ship to become a part of the NATO Response Force, starting from 2021. However, major cost related to this preparation will undoubtedly have an impact on the modernization budget that the Polish Navy has at its disposal. If one also includes the Orkan-class-related overhaul effort in the cost estimates (where the main propulsion unit is to be replaced) no money will be available to build new surface combatants at the Polish companies.
Let us recall that a simple patrol vessel that is to be acquired within the framework of the Czapla-Class program (not an unarmed corvette like the one that is wanted by the Polish Navy) has a pricetag of 40-50 million euros. Half of this sum is going to be spent on the “Czernicki” vessel, while “Czapla” programme has been crossed out of the Polish Navy modernization plans. This is despite the fact that at a lower price these warships could also serve in the NATO- and EU-driven operations, and they would also be brand new.