Su-22 and MiG-29: Bomb Tenders Cancelled. Result of Acceleration of the Harpia Programme?
The Armament Inspectorate cancelled tenders pertaining to acquisition of 60 FAB-500ShN HE bombs and 130 OFAB-250-270 HE-Fragmentation bombs. The decision has been justified by the change of operational plans related to the MiG-29 aircraft. Furthermore, the MoD also resigned from extending the lifecycles of the Su-22 jets. The aforesaid step has been made probably in the light of acceleration of the Harpia MRCA programme, announced one day afterwards.
The cancelled tenders had been originally announced in January this year and they concerned the armament that can be used solely by the Su-22 and MiG-29 jets. The munitions were to be delivered between 2019 and 2021. Meanwhile, on 28th February 2019 it was announced that Harpia programme is about to be accelerated, with the 5th generation aircraft in mind. This is going to be done within the framework of the Technical Modernization Plan covering the period between 2017 and 2026.
On 21st February the Ordering Party received information concerning the General Staff’s decision on change of the operational plans pertaining to the Su-22 jets, and resignation from extending their lifecycles. Considering the above, procurement of the bombs is not justifiable, as it does not fit the current plans related to operational use of the Su-22 jets - the Inspectorate’s decision reads.
So, as we can see, the procurement planning bodies have been informed about the changes in the modernization plan shortly before it was publicized. This creates some doubts concerning the dialogue between the Polish Ministry of Defence, General Staff and the Armament Inspectorate, with more questions emerging with regards to the role of the latter body, being responsible for procurement or planning thereof.
Considering the above one should once again ask questions about the reform pertaining to procurement system. More questions emerge when it comes to the MoD’s progress within the scope of establishing the “Armament Agency” that is to fuse procurement and planning. So far, apart from a plenipotentiary being appointed within that scope, the Ministry has not been releasing any information whatsoever with regards to foundation of that important body.