A Look Back at the Air Domain Procurements of the Polish Armaments Inspectorate.
The Polish MoD’s armament procurement body, also known as the Armament Inspectorate, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. The body has begun its activities back on Jan. 1. 2011. The entity, over the last decade, has spent 72.9 bn. zlotys (USD 19.6 bn) on armament procurements – as the release issued by Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the entity, states. Out of that amount, PLN 39.3 bn. has been allocated with the Polish defense industry – the Polish government, in its official communications, does tend to underline the fact that most of the procurement programs pursued by the MoD do involve the Polish entities.
Over the last decade the Inspectorate was managed by the following officers: Div. Gen. Andrzej Duks (Jan. 1, 2011 – Sep. 30, 2012), Brig. Gen. Sławomir Szczepaniak (Oct. 1, 2012 – Jun. 30, 2015). Brig. Gen. Adam Duda (Jul. 1, 2015 – Dec. 15, 2016), and Brig. Gen. Dariusz Pluta, PhD (Dec. 16, 2016 – Jul. 31, 2020). Starting from Dec. 1, 2020, the Inspectorate is headed by Brig. Gen. Bogdan Dziewulski.
The Armament Inspectorate that replaced the formerly functioning procurement organs that separately dealt with individual procurements in different domains (air, land, sea), and that consolidated the procurement efforts, has been working on numerous, so-called, analytical-conceptual processes relating to the military procurement. However, in our article, we will focus on the air platforms primarily.
The release issued by the body includes significant programs, such as the Coastal Missile Squadron, M28 Bryza/PZL-130 Orlik aircraft upgrades, or numerous programs focused on upgrades in the land forces (especially in the artillery departments, with procurements of self-propelled mortars or self-propelled howitzers). The Inspectorate has also been responsible for the Polish procurements of the airlifters replacing the legacy fleets: C-295M CASA and C-130E Hercules platforms.
When it comes to the procurement agreements signed by the body in the last 10 years, in the air domain, the most significant deals include the WISŁA air defense system that would be coupled with IBCS (thus having an impact on creating an integrated air picture across all branches of the armed forces which would translate into greater situational awareness for both the land elements, as well as for the air force), as well as last year’s contract related to the Harpia program procurement. As a result of that deal, Poland will receive 32 F-35A Lightning IIs to replace the legacy MiG-29 and Su-22 fleets.
The Polish Air Force also enhanced its arsenal with the AGM-158 JASSM and JASSM-ER missiles that are going to become the primary deterrent at disposal of the Polish military. These procurements have been made through the US FMS (Foreign Military Sales) scheme.
Interestingly, the Polish MoD also pursued the upgrade program concerning the W-3 helicopter platform. Meanwhile, an agreement has been signed to procure 4x AW101 helicopters for the Navy, and S-70i Black Hawk helicopters for the Polish SOF.
The Armament Inspectorate also finalized the procurement of the Advanced Jet Trainer system, with the M-346 Master trainer being its backbone. The retirement of the TS-11 Iskra trainer this year, marks the generational leap in the Polish pilots’ training system.
In the area of UAVs, the Polish MoD procured the mini FlyEye UAVs, micro MayFly UAVs.
The release issued by the Inspectorate also places a great emphasis on the air/missile defense domain which is directly related to the freedom of maneuver for the air force – both blue forces, as well as the forces of the potential; adversary. Poland has already procured the VSHORAD systems (Poprad SAM), along with the Pilica systems. Both of these solutions have been delivered by the Polish industry. Somewhat related to this, has been the modernization of the radar systems – TRS-15M ODRA medium-range radars and BYSTRA mobile radars have been procured, along with GCA-2000 precision landing systems for the airbases that replaced the Post-soviet RSP-10MN solution.
Currently, the Inspectorate is working on more than 370 agreements, and almost 120 procurement processes. It is planned that, in the air domain, the Polish MoD would procure 5 C-130H Hercules airlifters this year, within the framework of the US Excess Defense Article (EDA) program. WIZJER mini-class UAVs are also on the list of the Polish procurements in the air domain, planned to be finalized in 2021.