Hawkei ATGM Carrier? Polish-Australian Talks at the PGZ Group

PUBLISHED AT: Friday, 03 November 2017, 14:32

Representatives of the PGZ S.A. company’s management board have been involved in talks with the head of the Australian government’s delegation, Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne. During the talks, the issue of defence sectors collaboration between Poland and Australia has been brought up, with regards to naval programmes, or programmes related to armoured multi-purpose vehicles.

The talks involving the PGZ Group were focused on solutions pertaining to land and naval platforms. The potential options of collaboration related to industrial cooperation and technology transfer were discussed, with regards to the Australian offer submitted within the “Pegaz” programme. PGZ S.A., since one year now, has been talking to the Thales company, in order to establish a relevant cooperation within the domain of manufacturing 4x4 vehicular platforms.

According to the PGZ Group, acquisition of the Hawkei multi-purpose vehicle is also being considered within the talks. The platform of modular design also features an open architecture when it comes to its electronic systems. The protection level may thus be adopted to the requirements of the potential user, with Hawkei itself being a base platform for developing a myriad of special-purpose vehicles. President of the Management Board at the PGZ S.A. company, Błażej Wojnicz, stressed the fact that the vehicle could be used as a reconnaissance platform for the Homar rocket artillery modules, or as an ATGMs carrier.

Throughout the talks taking place today, we have covered numerous issues related to potential cooperation between the PGZ Group and the Australian defence industry. We were talking, among other issues, about an option to acquire multi-purpose armoured vehicles, not only for the special forces. Equipment as such could also be operated as a reconnaissance platform within the structure of the artillery modules of the “Homar” system, or as a carrier for heavy ATGMs.

Błażej Wojnicz, President of the Management Board of the PGZ Group

In October 2017 Thales finalized a test programme for the Australian Armed Forces, with regards to reliability of the Hawkei vehicular platform. Then also, series manufacturing for the market in Australia has begun. Hawkei is using the solutions applied, inter alia, in case of the Bushmaster vehicle that has seen combat use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hawkei platform was being showcased during this year’s edition of the Polish MSPO defence industry exhibition held in Kielce. Paul Wojciechowski, Australia’s Ambassador to Poland, in his interview for Defence24.pl which took place during the exhibition expressed the Australia’s readiness to establish Hawkei production capabilities in Poland.

PGZ also noted that some portion of the meeting with Minister Pyne also covered the area of systems that could be used to secure the sea infrastructure and the domain of sea mine countermeasures. The issue of knowledge exchange on acquisition of submarines has been brought up, with a particular emphasis placed on the experience Australia gathered in this area when it comes to partnership with the Swedes and the French.

Canberra ultimately decided that the programme of building 12 new submarines for the Australian Navy, valued at USD 39 billion, would be pursued in collaboration with the French defence industry. 

The Australians also expressed a possibility to share the knowledge with us, with regards to the new submarines procurement procedure.This is a priceless piece of expertise, since the deadline on which it is to be decided by Poland as to who is going to become the partner in building of new submarines is coming in rapidly.The ability to obtain know-how within that scope will let us to proceed within that procurement better and avoid the mistakes made by Canberra – as Wojnicz clarified. 

PGZ also emphasized the fact that Australia is not a foreign market for the Polish defence industry, as the Bydgoszcz-based Nitrochem facility is quite active there. Shipyards that are a portion of the Polish Armaments Group had also been working on overhauls with regards to ships operated by the Australian shipowners previously.

Earlier that day, a meeting had taken place between the Australian delegates and the officials of the Polish MoD, including vice-minister Bartosz Kownacki and member of the board at the PGZ Group, Robert Gut. The talks also covered the area of potential cooperation between the defence industry, options of know-how exchange on the procurement procedures and intergovernmental negotiations.

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