Poland establishes a UAV-dedicated airbase

Poland’s Ministry of Defense, in the light of the wide scope of UAV procurement programmes, decided to create a dedicated airbase for the unmanned systems. A base currently used by the Polish Air Force Su-22 jets.

Mirosławiec airfield, a base currently hosting Polish Su-22 Fitter attack planes, has been chosen to became a UAV base.

The airbase, which is going to be referred to as the 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Base, will begin its operations, starting from January 2016.

The Polish Army has six UAV procurement programs, the aim of which is to bridge the capability gap detected during the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, conducted throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.

So far, the Polish UAV arsenal has been quite modest, since it only features some mini-class tactical systems utilized by the Nil Special forces units. During the Afghan deployment, Polish Army also rented the ScanEagle systems from the Americans.

Polish UAV programs aim at procurement of the following systems:

• Zefir – MALE UCAV, with high level of autonomy – 12 vehicles are going to be acquired within the scope of this program;
• Gryf – Tactical MALE recce UAV – 12 examples to be acquired;
• Orlik – tactical short range UAV – 12 packages with 3 to 5 platforms in each are going to be procured;
• Wizjer – mini-UAV, similar to the WB Electronics FlyEye – 15 packages with 4-5 UAVs in each package are going to be purchased;
• Ważka – VTOL mini UAV program – need of acquiring 15 UAVs of this type has been expressed;
• Micro-UAV – the smallest VTOL UAV which is going to be used by the special forces’ assault teams in order to increase their situational awareness.

Mirosławiec base is going to be equipped with the above-mentioned Gryf, Orlik and Zefir UAVs.

According to the reports published by a variety of the Polish defense media outlets, the facility will be reconstructed to receive new infrastructure needed to store the UAV systems and the armament.

When it comes to the UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) systems, British, Israeli and US offers have been submitted. 60 UCAVs are going to be stationed at the facility – 48 tactical ones and 12 heavy Zefir UCAVs.

According to the information released by tvn24 at the end of June, the tender is going to be won by the contractor who is going to provide Poland with a relevant transfer of technology.

Image Credit: Google Maps

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.