During a training exercise taking place at the Air Force’s range in Ustka, involving the 8th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the first-ever Piorun missiles were launched from the Poprad VSHORAD systems.
The activities conducted on 27th November were executed by the 8th Regiment Poprad crews. The missiles completed the tasks assigned. Thereby, it was confirmed that the assumed performance of the missiles meets the expectations.
Poprad is a VSHORAD SAM system that is destined to become a part of the lowest layer of the IA/MDS. POPRAD has been designed to detect, recognize and destroy airborne targets at close distances and low altitudes with the use of short-range anti-aircraft missiles. Poprad can neutralize targets at a distance of up to 5.5 - 6.5 kilometres, flying 3-4 kilometres high, depending on the effector used. The system is armed with 4 Grom or modernized Piorun VSHORAD missiles. The missiles are placed on a column mount installed within the cargo compartment of a Żubr vehicle. The column is extended when in a combat setting. In a transport setting, the missiles are retracted inside the vehicle.
The agreement concerning the delivery of 79 series-manufactured examples of the Poprad air defence system has been concluded by and between the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence and PIT-RADWAR S.A. on 16th December 2015. It has a value of 1.083 bn. zlotys. The deliveries are expected to happen between 2017 and 2021. The Polish Army is going to receive 77 new systems, along with two properly tailored vehicles, coming from the batch used to implement the final solutions.
Piorun missiles have been developed and are manufactured by Mesko S.A. They have been developed based on the successful Grom MANPADS design, broadly implemented in the Polish military and exported to several nations (to include Georgia, Indonesia, USA, Lithuania). The system has also been used in combat already. The Piorun missile derived from those has a much better envelope (more than 6,5 km max range, 4 km max altitude), new guidance system with improved resistance to jamming and is one of the leading MANPADS solutions available globally. The system offers a significant export potential as well. The US Army has just begun a procedure to select a new MANPADS system that is to replace the Stinger missiles. This procedure is listed as a possible field for a competition that could potentially involve foreign businesses.
The launches of the Piorun missiles from the Poprad system could be seen as another step towards reinforcement of the Polish VSHORAD Integrated Air and Missile Defence layer. Not only could the Piorun missiles be shoulder-launched, as they could also become a weapon in case of different SAM systems.
The missiles in question are manufactured with the domestic R&D and industrial potential utilized to the fullest. Thanks to the above everything related to the development of the missiles remains under the Polish jurisdiction