It’s pretty cool in the Polish armament industry now…

PUBLISHED AT: Tuesday, 23 February 2016, 8:50
Jarosław Kruk

In the last days of the year 2015 a contract was signed for the supply of Poprad sets, the supply of armor-piercing Spike missiles and modernization of Leopard tanks.

The supplies of Poprad will be realized by our armament industry, the supply of Spikes in over 50% - by Mesko - here you can try to connect the purchase agreement with some negotiations, e.g. co-production of a new generation missile having a range of several kilometers, according to Rafael - if it is true, but it’s cool anyway.

As for Leopard - fantastic, two companies will deal with it, Bumar - Łabędy will retain the “tank” capability, which may bring some export contract for "Twarde" in the future, and the center in Poznan stands a chance to grow. On the occasion of concluding the agreement a small detail was forgotten, and the armor was purchased from a foreign supplier despite the fact that our State has been conducting a research and development project aimed to create a Polish armor for several years now. This armor is to be used for the majority of combat platforms: infantry fighting vehicles, wheeled armoured vehicles, tanks and other carries. Tens of millions of Polish zloty was spent on this purpose and another one hundred million is still expected to be spent - it may be seen as serious mismanagement or depending on one’s choice, mess and lack of coordination. The foreign supplier of armor has been brought in on the "armored wings." This may still be changed, probably.

One more serious mine may be manifested in connection with this agreement, related to…, but maybe it is better to let sleeping dogs lie.

Our wolverines [rosomaki] finally go abroad.  For now, true - within the Patria network, but it’s better than nothing. It will not be easy to rebuild confidence in the national defense industry products and in the defense industry itself. Private operators cope with this better. Manufacturers owned by foreigners realize supplies within capital groups and drive the statistics of our arms export, but one good thing is that at least they offer workplaces. In contrast, state-owned companies need solid work from scratch to rebuild the export of arms, much has been destroyed, forgotten, etc. The effects will not be seen right away. It will take some time before they feel they can trust us. There are still a few mines from the past, and it is not true that the transformation of the Polish armament industry that has taken place in the recent years will cause that the new entity will not be responsible for the sins of its predecessors. Let us remember that for customers in Asia (and others), it is Poland that is the supplier, not Bumar or PHO, or PGZ. In their eyes it's basically the same company and it may be entered in the blacklist for the old sins in some countries. Rumor has it that some very capable traders operating on some subcontinent work very intensively on making our clients aware that basically the Polish arms industry should be entered in the blacklist.

Whether our arms industry will continue to evolve will be decided by the policy; and it will be decided how and from whom we will buy air defense systems, whether we will deal on our own with  most of the hardware and the integration, whether we will buy only what we do not produce or the complete system and then the benefits for the industry will be negligible. Anyway, we need to buy a system that would have a chance to defend us against the Iskanders brigade (as the experts say, 56 rockets). As the press heralds, in 2016 the Russian army is expected to be equipped with two new Iskanders brigades, and in the  year 2017 even two or three more. One or two may be installed in the district of Królewiec. Would the system to have been purchased by the previous government have a chance to defend us fairly effectively us against this burst of fire? A big question mark remains…. The next question is whether this pays off??? If this is true,  maybe the issue should be approached in a different way -  buy such elements and technologies which we do not have and try on our own to piece together the defense system going from the lowest floor upwards (as we did with the IFF system). The lowest floor has just been ordered from the domestic industry.

In general, if we have already decided to purchase the American equipment, perhaps it is worth letting American corporations compete instead of indicating one of them in advance, thus leaving Poland no choice of the supplier. In addition, we should wait before we take a decision until the Americans themselves decide which system or compilations of missile defense systems they choose to avoid buying for big money what  the Americans resign from themselves.

Fortunately, there is some light in the tunnel in the case of Heron and Swordfish [Czapla i Miecznik].  It is very interesting how this situation will evolve.

Now a little about the law. My excellent co-bloger, Filip Seredyński wrote a fantastic article on defence24 on the holding law or rather on the need for its implementation into the Polish legal system. I agree with the vast majority of his theses. I agree that the law cannot be written only from the perspectives of the needs of Pegaz, but it should take into account the problems of other companies too. What remains to be considered and examined carefully is the question of limiting regulations to companies whose "mother company" is a Polish law company.

 JAROSŁAW KRUK              

Jarosław Kruk
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