Poland Deploys Maritime Patrol Aircraft to Turkey

Image Credit: Polish MoD
Image Credit: Polish MoD

According to the Polish Ministry of Defence, one PZL M28 Bryza R1 aircraft delegated to participate in the NATO TAMT (Tailored Assurance Measures Turkey) operation left for Turkey yesterday. Soon it would operate out of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and over the Black Sea. TAMT would mark the first mission the Polish military has undertaken in the Turkish territory. 

The decision to deploy a Polish contingent with a single MPA and up to 80 soldiers and personnel was signed by President Andrzej Duda in September 2020. “This is not a combat deployment. The mission involves the enhanced presence of aerial warning assets, tracking the maritime activities, and carrying out reconnaissance. [...] We have issued a positive response to the recent appeal made by the Turkish side, addressed to the NATO allies, following the worsening security situation on the Syrian-Turkish border”, Paweł Soloch, head of the National Security Bureau had been noting back then.

The TAMT deployment was initiated by NATO forces back in 2015, following a Turkish request emerging after the situation on the Syrian border got intensified. This has been tied to the armed conflict that is still going on there. The mission involves the extra presence of aerial early-warning assets (AWACS), enhanced presence in the eastern Mediterranean area, reconnaissance and intel-gathering activities, and sharing of the information.

PZL M28 Bryza R1 of the Gdynia-based Navy Aviation Brigade took off and left for Turkey on 12th April. Soon, soldiers and personnel responsible for maintenance and support for the Bryza operations would join the aircraft in Turkey.

PZL M28 Bryzas have been involved in similar deployments in the past - for instance, during the Sophia mission organized by the EU in the Mediterranean. It is a specialised variant of the airframe developed to meet the needs of the Polish Navy. The Navy operates 8 examples. The R1 variant has been fitted with the ARS-400/ARS-800 radar (ARS-800 for the upgraded airframes), CHELTON distress signal tracker, and ŁS-10 datalink. The aircraft can drop a rescue raft during the SAR operations. The crew consists of two pilots, an engineer, and up to three operators handling the radars, and the datalinks.

Back in 2018, airframes with regs 1008 and 1017, being a part of the Sophia deployment, have been upgraded, receiving SATCOM system, extra radios for the navigators, and AIS system sensors. 1006 is the number of aircraft deployed to Turkey - without the aforesaid upgrades.

M28 Bryza R1s delivered between 1994 and 2001 should soon be supported, and then replaced, by MPA platforms acquired within the scope of the Rybitwa procurement programme. These are to serve the patrol, reconnaissance, SIGINT, and ASW missions. Unfortunately, similarly as in the case of the Płomykówka sister-procurement, no information on the matter has been available for years now.