Polish F-16 Jets to Utilize Training Ammunition Delivered by the Mesko Company

Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy/USAF.
Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy/USAF.

Mesko SA company is going to deliver training ammunition for the Polish F-16 jets, which is to be utilized with the M61 cannon. A relevant agreement has been concluded by the Armament Inspectorate. 

The order concerns procurement of 20 mm TP RRR LD M2 rounds, within the period between 2017 and 2019, and in 2021, in a quantity of 108 thousand examples, the total value of which is defined as PLN 15.93 million.

Mesko acts as the manufacturer and owner of the technical documentation for the ammunition of this type, thanks to implementation of the offset agreement related to acquisition of the F-16C/D Block 52+ fighter. The relevant license has been transferred by the Norwegian Nammo company. The Mesko company, acting as a part of the Polish Armaments Group, also remains the sole entity which is authorized to manufacture this ammunition in Poland.

Thus, the acquisition could have taken place without prior publication of a procurement announcement within the Official Journal of the European Union, and consequently it is not a subject to the Public Procurement Law. The Armament Inspectorate stresses the fact that potential change of the contractor would lead to emergence of training- and logistics-related problems, while the agreement itself constitutes solely a reiteration of the past procurement processes (the previous contract was signed back in 2014).  

Potential change of the contractor would result in emergence of problems with maintaining of continuity of pilots training, and achieving a proper level of that training, it would also entail a need to generate subsidiary costs which would be difficult to predict, related to provision of proper, additional control and measurement equipment for the maintenance facilities at the military units.

Armament Inspectorate - Official Journal of the EU

The agreement concerns acquisition of the basic type of aviation ammunition for the M61A1 cannon, utilized within the combat training activities in case of the F-16 jets operated in Poland.

The 20×102 mm ammunition has been created to carry out training with the use of the aircraft cannons or other dedicated armament systems (M197, M39), it offers a diminished ricocheting risk. The projectile disintegrates when hitting the target, creating fragments that have no capacity of having a ballistic effect on the aircraft flying close by.

The ammunition in question may also be used during combat sorties, in case of which it is important to destroy the target, without causing significant collateral damage. When it comes to the ballistics, its properties correspond with the profile of the MP LD M70A1 round. Recently, the Armament Inspectorate also began a procurement procedure regarding the inert bombs for the Polish F-16 jets. 

At the end of 2016, on the other hand, acquisition contracts concerning the AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles, AIM-120C7 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles and AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles of short range were all signed. Meanwhile, the first examples of the AGM-158A JASSM missiles, which were contracted back in 2014, have already been delivered.