The after - expo novelties. How is the modernization of the Armed Forces going to develop?
All the exposures looked splendid during the Kielce expo. No wonder – every supplier wants to grab a piece of the cake worth 130 billion zlotys, and when talking about the whole period of the validity of the product – 20 – 30 years, it’s even more than 400 billion zlotys. The number of exhibitors was impressive as well as the exposures were. Unfortunately, producers’ and intermediaries’ hope fell down because of information, that the Ministry of National Defense has not spent a huge budget assigned for the modernization in previous years; it is said it could have been even more than 10 billion zlotys. On the other hand, their hopes were raised by what the politicians were saing and changes in the geopolitical situation. In general, the event was great and gorgeous, but as far as the future of purchases is concerned – anyone knows it.
It seems that programs of air - raid or anti - missile defense of medium or short range are the most crucial for Poland and Polish armed industry are. In the current situation of limited conflict we have no chance to defend, because the predominance of federal aircraft is overwhelming. Furthermore, the lack of such systems precludes a proper reaction for likely manifestations of hybrid war, for example accidental firing of a single Iskander rocket in the direction of the refinery in Plock (of course, with a conventional warhead). Both Narew and Wisla systems should be complementary and interact with each other, also have the potential for development in order to be able to react flexibly for unstable situation. Furthermore, the systems should be fully operational, i.e. be able to fight the threats and should be dedicated to defending our territory. The modernization of the Armed Forces is financed by our own taxes, what means maximum involvement of Polish industry in production, service and last but not least, modernization of purchased equipment. The latest news from the Committee of the US Senate determine to analyze, whether it is reasonable and rational to purchase the product from the main favorite of Wisla tender. We mustn’t forget that any of the systems was checked against Iskander, whereas their usage took place in conditions of enormous predominance of the west side, what may be different in the Polish reality. The first batteries delivery before 2018 or 2019 is not realistic, as they must be produced before.
It is believed that if Polish industry does not properly participate in both programs, it will become completely useless. What would remain is only production of vehicles (including tracked ones), rifles, ammunition and mine-throwers, or renovations on the last resort. Unfortunately, then we will be deprived of its modern and developmental components. The Ministry of National Defense , closing the technical dialogue on the Wisla program and concluding that the sets should be “operational and kept on arming the NATO countries” didn’t prejudge about anything. The regulations don’t prohibit the level of Polish industry participation in production, service or modernization of the set should be the main condition of the tender . Admission MEADS to tender is conceivable also, what is strongly lobbed by….. More about it in the next episode, if the situation allows.
I wonder if a visit of Raytheon chairman planned for 25-26th September and appointments arranged with our politicians, including the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, will take place because of the US Senate opinion? It is also interesting, whether Mr. Chairman will have a meeting with representatives of the Polish military industry – it will say a lot about the tender’s favorite intentions.
Some hope for the Polish military industry could have appeared after General Stanislaw Butlak’s presentation at the conference “The Offset’s future in Poland”, held by the Polish Chamber of National Defense Manufacturers in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Mr. General was definitely very well - prepared for his speech. It seems that his words about the Ministry of National Defense taking care of the Polish defense industry and having comprehensive/sector approach to offset as well as for industry cooperation, have sounded sincerely and convincingly. May the cooperation of the Ministry of National Defense and industry in the Wisla program be real and implemented according to the Turkish model. There was an organizational structure of the Ministry of National Defense, which will deal with offset presented. May they have enough strength and proper skills. Even if only 40% of what Mr. General announced is done, it will still be a satisfactory result. In fact, I agreed with most of the issues mentioned by Mr. General, yet I still think that the offset transition to the Ministry of National Defense was a mistake.
The previous experience regarding offset implementation was presented by director Hubert Królikowski. It was positive so far. Within 15 years we have managed to get a decent experience in the offset implementation and to achieve a number of rewarding projects. Some of them were related to factories which were the only bread winners in the towns they were located, therefore it was the offset, what allowed them to survive and develop their production. As a part of the offset, the Polish defense industry has learned how to acquire and use technologies. Obviously, offset is not such a kind of contract, that buying an equipment for 100 zlotys the supplier will pay another 100 zl in addition, because then the equipment would cost 200 zlotys in total. It is rather such a kind of a contract by which Poland buying equipment can additionally obtain licenses and technologies, or, when talking about the past, the economic benefits. The Polish administration, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs in particular,, has gained a huge experience during the offset implementation and now it is an equal partner for foreign suppliers. Will the Ministry of National Defense such a partner? We will see, I hope so.
It is my annalist’s duty to add, that a very interesting speech regarding the legal aspects of technologies was presented at the conference and the author of the above text was the speaker.