The Armament Inspectorate has announced that a Technical Dialogue procedure, regarding the “unmanned search-and-strike systems” used to autonomously detect and destroy Time Sensitive Targets, with the use of a specialized integrated warhead, has begun.
The goal of the procedure is to develop a feasibility study, along with definition of the initial tactical and technical assumptions, which would cover the issue of procurement of the Loitering Munitions for the Polish Army. This type of UAV is capable of autonomously detecting and destroying the targets with the use of the integrated warhead.
Due to the fact that requirements are a subject to “restricted” clause, included in the request for proposals, the entities involved in the procedure must confirm their ability to protect the confidential information at the “restricted level” in line with the Act on Protection of Confidential Information, while in case of the foreign contractors, they should act in line with the bilateral agreement signed by and between Poland and the country in which the potential contractor operates. The submissions may be sent to the Armament Inspectorate until 31st January 2017. The entities selected by the Armament Inspectorate, meeting the formal requirements, will receive RFIs, containing the detailed information.
The procedure of a technical dialogue initiated by the Armament Inspectorate also begins the process in which the Polish Ministry of Defence acquires the short range UCAVs, belonging to the category of loitering munitions. Here, the request mentions “unmanned search and attack systems”, capable of attacking targets at “medium distances” with the use of a “specialized integrated warhead”. The unmanned systems are treated as a guided weapon of medium range capable of autonomously detecting and destroying time sensitive targets (TST). The aforesaid definition refers to the targets, as NATO standards foresee, which would require immediate reaction due to their value or threat they may pose for the allied forces. We are referring both to the artillery units, dangerous weapons, or camouflaged enemy positions, as well as key supply or command components of the adversary.
At the moment, loitering munitions of a variety of types are being developed globally, starting from small single-use designs with a range of up to couple of kilometres, finishing with systems of long flight endurance, also retaining an ability to return to base, should no targets be detected.
Within the scope of the systems that are planned to be acquired by the Armament Inspectorate, both foreign, as well as domestically developed products are available. In case of the latter group, Dragonfly attack quadcopter developed by the Military Institute of Armament Technology is especially interesting. Manufacturing of this system would be carried out by PGZ. Warmate fixed wing aircraft, proposed by the WB Electronics company, is the second design that should also be noted. Both UAVs have been armed with several types of warheads developed by the Military Institute of Armament Technology, including anti-tank, HE, and thermobaric varieties. This year, it is expected that Dragonfly system would enter mass production, along with the warheads. Meanwhile Warmate UAV already became an object of interest for two foreign customers of the WB Electronics company. Interest in license manufacturing of the aforesaid system has been expressed by Ukraine.
In the current geopolitical context, in which, for economic, political and strategic reasons the domestically developed products are preferred, it may be expected that regardless of the involvement of foreign entities in the dialogue procedure, ultimately Polish manufacturers would be preferred in the final tender. It is recommended that the above applies to domestic products, not license manufactured solutions.