The aforesaid three Poprad systems have become a part of the inventory of the air defense squadron which is a part of the 20th “Bartoszycka” Mechanized Brigade based in Bartoszyce, subordinated to the 16th “Pomorska” Mechanized Division. Meanwhile, eight Krab howitzers, along with three command vehicles, and two ammunition carriers, have been received by the last, third battery element of the 2nd Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron. Thanks to the above, the former element has launched the process of introducing modern, self-propelled SAM systems. In the case of the latter unit, we can speak of the completion of deliveries of howitzers for a squadron-level fire module.
The current delivery of the Poprad system is the third one in this year’s lot of 19 examples. In the previous years, 60 examples have been delivered in total, with 24 delivered last year. The agreement concerning the delivery of 77 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. According to the schedule adopted, the deliveries were to begin between 2017 and 2018, while the finalization deadline has been set in 2021. The examples ordered follow the first two prototypes. This means that the Polish military would receive 79 Poprad systems in total.
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 in order to detect, recognize and destroy airborne targets at close distances and low altitudes with the use of short-range anti-aircraft missiles. 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 that is extended when in a combat setting. Poprad can neutralize targets at a distance of up to 5.5 - 6.5 kilometers, flying 3-4 kilometers high, depending on the effector used.
Meanwhile, delivery of the aforesaid Krab sph battery has officially concluded the process of providing new inventory to artillery regiments of three, out of four divisions of the Polish land forces. Analogous systems have been introduced into service already in one of the self-propelled artillery squadrons of the 5th “Lubuski” Artillery Regiment of the 12th “Szczecinska” Mechanized Division, and 11th “Mazurski” Artillery Regiment of the 16th “Pomorska” Mechanized Division (the latter element has received the first “implementation” fire module, delivered in 2017; the remaining two modules come from series manufacturing already). The fourth Division - the 18th Mechanized Division formed now - is ultimately to have two Krab squadrons at its disposal, within the newly created artillery regiment. Furthermore, the Krab howitzers are also to be received by self-propelled artillery squadrons of certain brigades.
The above process will most probably require the current Krabs order to be expanded, with extra squadron-level fire modules. The original Krab procurement contract (with a value of PLN 4.6 bn.) was signed by and between the Armament Inspectorate and HSW S.A. It assumes that the Polish Armed Forces would receive 120 Krab howitzers in total, along with 90 special-purpose vehicles. All of those assets would be operated by 5 self-propelled artillery squadrons, starting from 2024. An additional agreement was signed in December last year. On the basis of the said extra contract, HSW S.A. is to manufacture and deliver two Krab howitzers and a certain number of support vehicles for the Toruń-based Artillery and Armament Training Centre - there, these platforms would be used to conduct specialist training for the artillerymen.