Armed Forces

Stalowa Wola Ironworks Statement regarding the Krab Howitzers

Assessment of the chassis manufactured by the ZM Bumar-ŁABĘDY S.A. indicates that acquisition of a foreign license is required without any further consideration – as the statement of the Stalowa Wola Ironworks [Huta Stalowa Wola S.A.] president Krzysztof Trofiniak claims. The statement is related to the agreement signed with the Samsung Techwin company within the scope of getting a license for manufacture of Krab self-propelled howitzer chassis. The memorandum is to, in its basic assumption, to make it possible to further implement the Regina artillery programme, which is a key element within the scope of the Polish Armed Forces Technical Modernization Plan.

The statement is related to the information regarding the protests of the staff and board of the Bumar-Łabędy facility, directed against the decision to acquire Korean-licensed chassis for the Krab howitzer. According to the President of the Stalowa Wola Ironworks it will make it possible for the Polish industry to take a technological leap within the scope of manufacturing heavy caterpillar chassis systems.  Presidents of the OBRUM and ZM Bumar Łabędy facilities - Andrzej Szortyka  and Jerzy Michalkiewicz – had claimed in their earlier statement, which has been published in a response to an article published by regarding the problems connected with the Krab programme, that there is no need to implement foreign solutions and that the offered chassis meets all the “technical requirements”.

In opinion of the HSW President, Krzysztof Trofiniak, assessment of the products delivered by the Bumar-Łabędy facility leaves no room for doubt – acquiring a foreign license is a must. Due to the fact that the contract requirements have not been met, Polish MoD claimed on 6th November that the contract may be terminated.

Assessment of the chassis which has been used so far – the ones manufactured by the ZM Bumar-ŁABĘDY S.A. facility – without any questions indicates that acquiring a foreign-made chassis is justified here. Military tests of the 8 Krab howitzers have found many defects in the chassis, including breaks in the hull, ineffective cooling system, ineffective drive-train with leaks from the engine and the gearboxes, leaky fuel system, leaky exhaust system, inaccurate fuel level measuring system, too long time of introducing the fuel into the fuel system and unstable electrical system.

As defects are listed in the statement by President Trofiniak

Krzysztof Trofiniak stressed the fact that during a tripartite meeting involving the HSW S.A. representatives, as well as the representatives of the Gliwice based companies, which took place on 24th October 2013, Obrum agreed to develop and test, a new hull, which would meet the conditions outlined by the agreement by the end of August 2014.

On the basis of the above HSW signed a relevant annex to the agreement related to the Regina programme. President Trofiniak stressed the fact that ZM Bumar-Łabędy and OBRUM, which are the subcontractors in the programme, did not endorse the obligations stemming from the annex. 

Due to the above, addressing the need of technology transfer for the Polish defence industry; needs of technical modernization, arming the missile units and artillery; needs of rational use of the financial means which have been involved in the REGINA programme, also a great quantity of own assets provided by the Stalowa Wola Ironworks, we have started a procedure which leads to a contract which is to be signed with the Samsung Techwin Company.

As Krzysztof Trofinak stated

President Trofinak also informed that on 15th December HSW S.A. asked the ZM Bumar-Łabędy S.A. company to realize the works within the scope of manufacturing the Korean-made chassis. Relevant conditions outlined by the agreement signed with the Korean subject are to provide an opportunity to use the “benefits” stemming from further implementation of the Regina programme, which aims at manufacturing the Krab howitzers, altogether. HSW President stressed the fact that all of the above will be dependent on the level of “professionalism, effectiveness and industrial business efficiency”.