Poland Launches “Harpia” Programme To Procure A New Multirole Combat Aircraft

Warsaw eyes new combat aircraft to replace the Su-22 and MiG-29 jets.

According to the announcement made by the Armament Inspectorate on Nov. 23, Poland has eventually initiated the procedure to acquire new fighter aircraft for the Polish Air Force.

The new assets would be replacing the fleet of Soviet-era Su-22 Fitters and MiG-29 Fulcrums, still part of the Polish Air Force’s inventory. The Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of Defence announced that it is willing to carry out a market analysis – this is one of the first stages of the analytical-conceptual phase of procurement with regards to operational requirements.

Two Polish Air Force MiG-29s. The Fulcrum is one of the type that Warsaw will replace within the “Harpia” programme.

The interesting fact is that the requirement has been defined for a “Multi-role Combat Aircraft”, within a programme that has been given the name “Harpia” (harpy eagle), along with “Airborne Electronic Jamming Capabilities.”

It is assumed, as the Polish Media Outlet “Dziennik Zbrojny” points out, that the analytical-conceptual phase with regards to procurement of the multi-role combat aircraft may last until December 2018, nonetheless, as procurement is complicated, steps may be made to extend the aforesaid term.

When it comes to the other operational requirement, concerning the Electronic Warfare, the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish MoD expects the potential bidders to present offers related to EW pods or modules that could be potentially integrated with the fighter aircraft.

Any entity interested in participation in the aforesaid market analysis may submit their requests until Dec. 18, 2017.

Even though the market analysis has been announced, the tight procurement schedule adopted by the Polish MoD leaves little space for extra spending – as currently Poland pursues costly programs such as Orka (new generation submarine) or Wisła (medium range air/missile defense program).

The insider talk suggests that F-16V could be the possible way to go for the Polish MoD. Meanwhile, Eurofighter GmbH also launched quite intense marketing campaign in Poland with regards to Harpia this year – e.g. by sending two Eurofighter aircraft to attend the Radom Air Show static display.

Considering the generational progress and capabilities made available by the type, the Polish could also consider the F-35 Lightning II even though this does not seem to be the path the Polish Air Force intends to take. Nonetheless the procurement is still in its infancy and it is too early to try to guess what the final decision will be.

A U.S. F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, performs for a crowd of nearly 100,000 people at Le Bourget Airport, France, during the Paris Air Show, June 23, 2017. The Paris Air Show offers the U.S. a unique opportunity to showcase their leadership in aerospace technology to an international audience. By participating, the U.S. hopes to promote standardization and interoperability of equipment with their NATO allies and international partners. This year marks the 52nd Paris Air Show and the event features more than 100 aircraft from around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

Image Credit: Wojciech Mazurkiewicz

About Jacek Siminski 283 Articles
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.

5 Comments

  1. Given the extensive Russian surface-to-air missile threat directed against Poland, F-35 may be the only way to go survivability-wise. A 4th gen plane might not be able to operate under the given threat condition. But if Warsaw simply can’t afford it, F-16V would be a fine choice. It can shoot down any fighter Russia throws into the air. And it’s APG-83 offers plenty of EW protection:

    Advanced AESA Radar

    “Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar delivers greater situational awareness, flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting. The APG-83 provides pilots with unprecedented target area detail and digital map displays that can be tailored with slew and zoom features. The APG-83 provides F-16s with 5th Generation fighter radar capabilities by leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars.

    The APG-83 AESA radar enables greater detection and tracking ranges, multiple target track (20-plus target tracks), high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for all-environment precision strike, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations for improved situational awareness, operational effectiveness and survivability; and robust electronic protection for operations in dense radio frequency (RF) environments. The APG-83 also provides greater overall system reliability and availability—three to five times that of legacy MSCAN radars.”

    https://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/features/2016/Meet-the-F-16V.html

    Trust me – Russia fears this fighter.

  2. Jacek,

    Great Update!

    Given the desire for “…a “Multi-role Combat Aircraft”, within a programme that has been given the name “Harpia” (harpy eagle), along with “Airborne Electronic Jamming Capabilities…”, would Poland consider purchasing a mixed fleet of F/A-18 E/F/G’s – similar to how Australia made purchases for a mixed fleet of Super Hornets & Growlers?

    This might meet Polish needs quite well and provide a potent capability while linking deeper into the US military (aka USN) and global community (especially if more Super Hornets were sold to Finland, Canada, Switzerland and more countries).

    The Polish MOD timeline seems to fit nicely into current projected USN purchases – and other foreign purchase efforts.

    Just a thought!

    Keep up the great work!

    • “would Poland consider purchasing a mixed fleet of F/A-18 E/F/G’s – similar to how Australia made purchases for a mixed fleet of Super Hornets & Growlers?”?

      You might want to read up on the RAAF prematurely retiring their F-111’s.

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