Polish Miecznik Coastal Defence Vessel Moves Forward

ORP Gen. K. Pułaski, and ORP Gen. T. Kościuszko. Image Credit: M. Dura
ORP Gen. K. Pułaski, and ORP Gen. T. Kościuszko. Image Credit: M. Dura

The Armament Inspectorate has developed recommendations on the Miecznik Coastal Defence Vessel programme, as Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Inspectorate, told us. Following the approval of those by the head of the MoD, preparations can be launched, to acquire the new warships.

Responding to our inquiry, the Spokesman for the Armament Inspectorate told us that relevant recommendations have been developed by the Armament Inspectorate, when it comes to the Miecznik-class (Swordfish) vessels, nonetheless, the analytical-conceptual phase has not formally come to an end, as of yet. The spokesman also recalled the fact that “According to the provisions contained within Decision No. 141/MON made by the National Defence Minister on 5th July 2017, on the system of acquisition, operation, and decommissioning of the military equipment owned by the Polish Armed Forces, the Analytical-Conceptual Phase only ends as the “Request on the acquisition of military equipment for the Armed Forces of Republic of Poland” is approved”.

The general assumptions on the Miecznik acquisition have been prepared and they are awaiting approval. If these are adopted, then the procurement procedure concerning the new warships could be properly launched. Earlier on the Ministry of Defence had been declaring that the Polish defence industry shall play the leading role in the Miecznik programme, shipbuilding industry in particular, working closely with foreign partners.

The coastal defence vessel program was evolving along with the changes made to the Technical Modernization Plan. The original plan was to acquire three corvette-sized warships, as well as three patrol vessels with a minehunting capability (Czapla-Class, “Heron”), based on a similar design. However, the assumption above was abandoned.

After the National Security Bureau published the Strategic Maritime Security Concept back in 2017, view suggesting that Miecznik-class vessels should come in a frigate, rather than corvette format has become far more common. This would make the new warships more capable, but also heavier, and more effective. Ultimately, the decisions on that matter would be known when the procurement is launched.

Miecznik-class vessels should be able to act against the surface, air and submerged threats, also in collaboration with embarked helicopters. In the Polish Navy the new vessels would be replacing the OHP Frigates - ORP “Generał Kazimierz Pułaski” and ORP “Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko”, dating back to the period between the 1970s and 1980s. They were inducted in the Polish Navy briefly after Poland became a NATO member state. Miecznik vessels are to be the core of the surface combatant force that the Polish Navy would own.