Macierewicz: Poland to get 160 HIMARS-Based Homar Rocket Systems

PUBLISHED AT: Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 12:10
Macierewicz

Polish Minister of Defence Antoni Macierewicz announced that ultimately 160 Homar rocket launchers are to be acquired, which is a number much higher than 50 launchers the procurement of which had been planned earlier – as the Polish Radio reports.

Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, during an interview for the First Programme of the Polish state Radio (Jedynka) stated that Homar would be “one of the main” elements of the Polish missile defence system. He noted that ultimately 160 launchers of this variety shall be acquired, whereas the earlier plans had assumed that only 50 systems as such would be bought.

Patriot missiles constitute only a small portion of this undertaking. When it comes to the quantity, Homar rockets would be the main tool, we were to acquire 50 launchers, we are going to buy 160 instead.

Antoni Macierewicz, Head of the Polish MoD

The original assumptions of the Technical Modernization Plan foresaw procurement of 56 Homar rocket system launchers, destined for three squadron-sized units (3×18) plus two training platforms. When the Polish Defence Concept was being presented it was declared that procurement of the long range artillery assets (tube and rocket systems) would be expanded, due to the significant meaning they bear for the capacity to defend the territory of Poland.

The Minister clearly stated that Homar would act as a component of the Polish IADS. The US Army is willing to integrate the HIMARS system which is to act as a base for Homar with the IBCS air defence management module. Thanks to the above, it would be possible to attack the missile launchers on the basis of the IBCS data, which would relevantly expand the ability to counteract against the enemy attacks.

The command suite listed above is also planned to be delivered for the Polish Armed Forces, with the Patriot systems. At the same time it is commonly known that basing the air defence system solely on defensive solutions, such as Wisła and Narew, could expose the system to excessive usage of interceptor missiles, should a massive strike scenario occur. This is probably the reason for which the Polish Ministry of Defence wants the Homar [Lobster] system to become an element of the missile defence solution.

A few days ago Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. has recommended that further negotiation concerning the rocket artillery system are carried out with the Lockheed Martin company. Homar is going to be, should the above scenario progress, based on the US-made HIMARS system. At the moment, the system is capable of utilizing GMLRS missiles (range of 80 km) and ATACMS missiles (range of ca. 300 km).

GMLRS rockets would undergo modernization, with a prospect of extending their range up to 150 kilometres throughout the upcoming few years. Furthermore, the armament used by the MLRS family systems (tracked M270 and wheeled M142 HIMARS platforms) is to be complemented by a new LRPF missile, with a range of up to 499 kilometres. At the moment the LRPF programme is in its infancy, with involvement seen on the part of the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon companies. Once relevant approvals are issued by the US government, all of the above systems, as well as IBCS integration, could also be offered to Poland.

Homar programme assumes that the rocket artillery system would be constructed on the basis of transfer of technology. PGZ acts as the leader of the consortium, whereas the launcher platforms are going to be built by Huta Stalowa Wola with support provided by other Polish companies, including WB Electronics delivering elements of the Topaz fire control suite, Mesko or the Grudziądz-based WZU.

The decision to increase the number of the Homar systems to be acquired shall be tied to implementation of the Polish Defence Concept recommendations. The armament of this variety may be used to effectively reinforce the defence of the Polish territory, especially if it is integrated with a proper reconnaissance, command, and fire control suite, in case of which IBCS would be one of the components.

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