During the third edition of the Polish – American Defense Industry Cooperation Forum, which was organized in Warsaw, Col. Stanisław Curyło, representing the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence, presented, among other issues, an outline of changes within the “Technical Modernization Plan” which is being pursued by the Polish Army. The aforesaid changes have been approved by Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz on 18th October. The redefinition includes, among other changes, new programmes which are now treated as priorities: “Cyberdefence and national cryptology” and “Territorial Defence”.
Modification of the Plan is also a result of significant delays, emerging in case of numerous programmes that are currently being pursued. Between 2017 and 2022 the Ministry, within the framework of the newly defined plan, is willing to spend around PLN 77 billion on modernization, where an amount of 61 billion zlotys is to be distributed between the 15 priority programmes.
Air Defence: From Wisła to Poprad
Within the framework of the most expensive and crucial “Wisła” medium range air defence system programme, the procurement procedure is currently in progress. LORs pertaining to the Patriot and MEADS systems have been sent, and the Armament Inspectorate is waiting for relevant replies which, in line with the procedures, are not expected to be received until the next year. The plan assumes that the agreement is going to be signed within a term which would make it possible to take deliveries of the aforesaid medium range system between 2019 and 2022.
When it comes to the SHORAD “Narew” programme, the Armament Inspectorate is currently carrying out a feasibility study, on the basis of the information acquired from the potential bidders, who offer the components that need to be acquired from abroad. The goal is to sign the contract in 2017 and deliver the helicopters between 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, agreements covering the procurement of the Piorun MANPADS and Poprad VSHORAD missiles have already been concluded. These deals are expected to be finalized by 2021.
Polish Navy – Regress of the Programmes
Within the scope referring to the Navy modernization programmes, it is planned that three Kormoran II Class minehunters are going to be built in line with the initial plan. Col. Curyło announced that delivery of the prototype is going to take place by the end of this year. Deliveries of the remaining two vessels are expected by the end of the year 2021.
When it comes to the “Orka” class submarines, at the moment the Inspectorate is working on a feasibility study which is connected to redefinition of the requirements. This step should be completed soon, in the light of the fact that the Ministry of Defence plans to sign a relevant contract in 2017, which is to make it possible to see the first submarines delivered to Poland in the period between 2024 and 2026. The initial plan assumed that two submarines were to be received before 2022.
More delays could be expected in case of the “Miecznik” and “Czapla” class coastal defence vessels which, after adopting the adjustment, face a two year delay, respectively 2020-2022 (for Miecznik) and 2022-2024 (for Czapla) are the expected acquisition dates. According to the latest revision of the modernization plan, both types of the vessels are to be delivered in the period between 2021 and 2026. Another maritime programme which has been delayed is the one referring to the “Supply” fuel tanker. The ship was to be completed by 2020, however, it will face a delay of another two years.
The naval programmes seem to face problems which bear most of the significance, resulting from reasons which are both technical, as well as financial. One could expect that this is one of the main directions for cuts which are required, in order to finance the priorities.
One of the two new programmes which emerged within the Plan refers widely to the area of cybersecurity. This is a new category for modernization, which, as Curyło informed, is further divided into another two categories: Cybernetic Support and Cryptologic Support. Each of the categories includes 14 separate tasks which are to be consequently implemented and finalized. The first agreements in the field are expected to be signed next year which is to make it possible to meet the detected and defined needs, within the scope determined by the Inspectorate, before 2022.
Territorial Defence – 2 Billion Zlotys in 2 Years?
The largest and the most expensive programme within the set of the new items contained in the Plan is the one concerning the acquisition of equipment for the Territorial Defence component of the Polish Army. According to the information released by, among other officials, the Deputy Minister Bartosz Kownacki, during the meeting of the National Defence Commission, the cost of procuring the equipment and armament for the Territorial Defence units may be as high as PLN 2 billion, within the upcoming years.
The information which was shared during the forum indicates that between 2017 and 2019 it was planned that significant procurement programmes, including the protection systems, night vision devices and personal weaponry for the Territorial Defence units. Starting from next year, until 2022, communication equipment is also going to be procured. On the other hand, between 2018 and 2022 vehicle procurement for the TD units is going to take place.
Up until now, we have no knowledge of any details referring to the procurement programmes related to the new component of the Army, however one may expect that a significant quantity of Beryl carbines would be acquired, along with support weapons, anti-material sniper rifles, bulletproof vests, helmets and other equipment which is more basic. The said equipment is to be supplied by the domestic industry.
When it comes to the helicopter programmes, one of the relevant factors is seen in resignation from acquisition of 50 H225M Caracal heliicopters. Col. Curyło did not provide the audience with much details, referring to the indispensable helicopter procurement and further fate of the initiative. What we do know though, is the fact that a procurement procedure referring to the helicopters which are urgently needed, within the framework of so called “Urgent Operational Need” procurement, has been initiated. Special Forces will receive the new helicopters first, most probably next year, however no decision has been made as to what type of helicopter is to be acquired – as we were informed by Col. Stanisław Curyło, adding that the deliveries are expected to start in 2018 or before.
The plan also assuming that procurement of attack helicopters would take place, in order to replace the obsolete post-soviet Mi-24 Hinds. The technical dialogue has been finalized, and relevant recommendations were formulated. At the moment, the Ministry is analysing the selection of the procedure, within which the Kruk helicopters are expected to be acquired. The plan assumes that relevant contract is to be concluded in 2017, while deliveries are expected to begin two years later.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
The UAV systems, alongside the helicopters, constitute another priority for the MoD. However, implementation of these programmes is also going to be significantly transformed. VTOL UAV systems are going to be procured first. The purpose of these systems is go be used, primarily, in the urbanized areas. Here we are referring to the “Ważka” mini UAV and “Mikro” micro UAV systems. This year, feasibility studies are to begin, which is to make it possible to start procurement of the “Mikro” systems in 2017, and “Ważka” systems one year later. When it comes to the expensive, large “Zefir” and “Gryf” UAVs, the dialogue procedures came to an end, and negotiation now involves the potential suppliers. The plan assumes that deliveries are to take place after 2020, which may mean that conclusions of contracts may also face a delay. At the same time, short range “Orlik” tactical UAVs are to be procured simultaneously.
Polish “Tytan” Future Soldier System
When it comes to the “Tytan” infantry combat system, the Armament Inspectorate does not expect any delays. According to the agreement signed back in 2014, the prototype is to be ready in 2019 and, starting from 2020, the first series manufactured examples will be supplied.
According to the assumptions made within the new modernization plan, the Battalion-level “Rosomak BMS” Battle Management System contract is expected to be concluded at the beginning of next year, however the system will not become a part of the inventory of the Polish Army by 2019. What is more, Col. Curyło noted that the system is going to be based on components developed domestically, however there is also a requirement related to satellite radio, the procurement of which is to be finalized within the framework of the FMS procedure. This is a direct indication of a US made component, compliant with the standards in force within the US forces.
Artillery – Modules Instead of Units
When referring to the artillery programmes, the representative of the Armament Inspectorate stressed the fact that one of the key directions taken in the field refers to the changed attitude towards this type of weaponry. Up until now, the administrator received components, such as the cannon, command vehicles, engineering vehicles, integrating these elements independently.
Now, the situation is reversed, since the Armament Inspectorate decided that acquisition of such equipment is being completed “in modules” which act as tactical units ready for operation. When it comes to the artillery, the aforesaid elements include: “Regina” artillery battalion-sized module including 24 units of “Krab” 155 mm self-propelled howitzers and an artillery module at the company level including 12 120 mm “Rak” self-propelled mortars, based on the Rosomak APC. The “Rak” and “Regina” modules will be delivered, on the basis of the concluded agreements, starting from 2017. The procurement is expected to be finalized, respectively, in 2019 and 2022.
When it comes to the “Homar” multiple rocket launch system, a single module is going to be formed by 18 launchers. Selecting a proper supplier shall be announced soon, while the agreement is not going to be concluded later than in the early 2017, since the deliveries, in line with the plans made by the Inspectorate, are expected to be finalized between 2019 and 2022.
Vehicles for the Land Forces: From Leopard to Kleszcz
When it comes to the main land platform programmes, the contracted modernisation of the Leopard 2A4 tanks, with the upgrade to the Leopard 2PL standard expected, is to be finalized in the period between 2018 and 2021. What is more, works began, within the scope of two tracked-chassis platforms, the purpose of which would be to replace the T-72/PT-91 main battle tanks and BWP-1 IFVs. “Borsuk” IFV prototype is to be ready in 2019, while “Gepard” close support platform prototype – one year later. “Borsuk” procurement is scheduled to begin in 2021, and “Gepard” vehicles are to be delivered in 2022 respectively. This means that both designs face one year of delay.
Moreover, the procurement plan referring to the vehicles for the long range reconnaissance units, also known under the name “Żmija”, also faces some significant delays. The procurement process is going to be taking place between 2020 and 2022, not between 2017 and 2020, as planned before. On the other hand “Kleszcz” light armoured reconnaissance vehicles will be acquired in line with the original plan, between 2021 and 2022.
Rosomak with Unmanned Turret – Significant Delays
The Armament Inspectorate expects that Rosomak APCs are still going to be procured continuously, by the year 2020, in a variety of variants. However, another delay is going to take place, when it comes to the ZSSW-30 remote control turrets, integrated with the Spike-LR ATGM launcher. The deliveries were to take place between 2018 and 2022. The presentation showcased by the Inspectorate mentioned different dates: 2022 – 2023. Meanwhile, Spike-LR missiles are going to be delivered between 2020 and 2021. These missiles are going to be used mainly with the aforesaid launchers. The missiles in question have been ordered back in 2015, in a number of 1000 examples.