As the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD informs, the following entities have submitted requests to take part in the technical dialogue:
- Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. [Polish Armaments Group] with the following companies of the Group: Rosomak S.A.,
PIT-Radwar S.A, OBRUM Sp. z o.o., Jelcz Sp. z o.o., Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne S.A. [Military Electronic Works S.A], ZM Tarnów S.A., Wojskowe Zakłady Uzbrojenia S.A. [Military Armament Works], Huta Stalowa Wola S.A., Mesko S.A.
- Raytheon Technologies Co.
- CRW Telesystem-Mesko Sp z o.o. along with Centrum Łukasiewicz – Sieć Badawcza Łukasiewicz [Łukasiewicz Center - Łukasiewicz Research Network].
- WB Electronics S.A.;
- Transbit Sp. z o.o.
- Thales Polska Sp. z o.o.
- Northrop Grumman International Trading Inc.
- Nexter Systems SA.
- Aselsan A.S.
- Leonardo S.p.A.
- Saab Technologies Poland Sp. z o.o.
- Elbit Systems Land Ltd.
- MBDA UK Ltd.
- Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
- Rheinmetall Air Defence AG.
- Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
- Valhalla Turrets D.O.O.
- Lockheed Martin Global Inc. (S.A.)
As we can see, the group of bidders involves numerous domestic defence companies (in a consortium), as well as research institutes and numerous Polish privately-owned businesses. Apart from the above, the list also includes global defence industry leaders, coming from Europe, the US, Turkey or Israel.
The technical dialogue is expected to take place between early October and 18th December this year.
The Polish Ministry of Defence is willing to introduce the SONA system into the inventory of the Armed Forces. SONA is to provide the armoured elements of the Polish military with a complex set of VSHORAD capabilities, along with C-RAM capabilities as well. SONA would replace the ZSU-23-4 Szylka [Shilka] self-propelled AAA system and the ZSU-23-4MP Biała platform.
According to the announcement published, the procedure is aimed at executing a dialogue involving entities “that have comprehensive solutions included in their offer, or solutions that could be integrated within the scope of VSHORAD systems”, to obtain information required to prepare terms of reference for the SONA procurement programme. The talks would involve companies that manufacture both the air defence solutions, as well as individual components (such as cannons, radars, missiles, or platforms).
The dialogue is aimed at assessment of the possibility of the preliminary requirements to be met by the offered products. It would also involve a preliminary estimation of the cost and programme schedule. Furthermore, the process’s goal is to obtain relevant information making it possible to assess the lifecycle costs and the logistics support system. The adopted procedure is also to make it possible to identify the limitations and conditions involved in the technology transfer and the risks associated with the programme. Secondly, it would address the matter of the method that could be used to confirm the requirements-compliance as well.
Detailed description (preliminary requirements) of the SONA system would be passed on to the entities qualified into the technical dialogue. We do know, however, that the solution shall “have an ability to act against artillery and mortar rounds, and rockets throughout their trajectory (C-RAM) manned offensive air assets and UAVs”.
The SONA programme constitutes a chance for the Polish industry as it may deliver most or all of the required elements, ranging from the base platform (such as K9), through effectors (cannons and missiles), target detection systems, C2 suite, to the integration of the solution as a whole. To finalize the program one needs to precisely define the requirements. This is to be made possible thanks to the dialogue conducted.