Polish Nitro-Chem Company to Manufacture Bombs for the F-16 Jets

December 1, 2017, 3:40 PM

Agreement has been signed at the Nitro-Chem company, covering the transfer of a license and certificates required to initiate manufacturing of the Mk-82 500 lbs. bomb units in Poland. The said aviation ordnance is widely utilized by USAF or NATO. Certification and initiation of the manufacturing process are expected to happen in the third quarter of the upcoming year. Mk-82 bombs have been integrated with the Polish F-16C/D Jastrząb jets, among other aircraft.

The Agreement signed on 29th November this year had been preceded by a letter of intent signed back in May. The arrangements are related to manufacturing of the Mk-80 family bombs in Poland. After production of the 500 lbs. Mk-82 bomb units begins, Mk-84 bombs are to follow (1000 lbs. weight).

The Agreement was signed by and between the President of the Board of the Nitrochem S.A. facility (which belongs to the PGZ Group) - Krzysztof Kozłowski, and the President of the RWM Italia entity (which belongs to Rheinmetall Defence), Fabio Sgarzi. Not only would the Polish facility be tasked with production of tritonal (a mixture of 80% TNT and 20% aluminium powder, used in several types of ordnance such as air-dropped bombs), but also with filling of the bomb bodies with the explosives, with the casings being delivered by the Italian partner. RWM Italia would also be acting as the customer, when it comes to the tritonal explosive itself. The explosives would be used in the process of loading the bombs manufactured in Italy.

The Mk-80 family bombs production process is not very different from the known technologies, utilized in case of other products manufactured at Nitro-Chem, such as the light LBOB-100 bomb units designed for the Su-22 jet. Nitro-Chem also manufactures a variety of artillery and mortar rounds, across a wide range of calibres. The need to acquire new equipment is limited solely to the systems used for balancing the bombs. The Bydgoszcz-based company also delivers TNT for foreign and domestic customers, including the US military.

We estimate that tens of thousands examples of the Mk-82 bombs are used around the world per year. If we are able to take over at least 1% of that use, we’d be very happy.

Krzysztof Kozłowski, President of the Board at the ZCh Nitro-Chem S.A. facility.

Mk-80 bombs family may be used both in an “iron” variety, as well as in a form coupled with the precision guidance units. Paveway (Precision Avionics Vectoring Equipment) is one of the systems of this class, making it possible to create a laser-guided bomb unit. JDAM kits (Joint Direct Attack Munition) on the other hand allow for guiding the bomb with the use of INS/GPS navigation aids. 

Bartosz Kownacki, Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, Robert Gut, Member of the Board at the PGZ Group, and Krzysztof Kozłowski, President of the Nitrochem company, visiting the manufacturing facility. Image Credit: Paweł K. Malicki

The typical applications include Paveway guided Mk-82 bombs being used against moving targets (armoured vehicles or main battle tanks), or Mk-84 JDAMs used against stationary targets (buildings, command stations).

Mk-80 family bomb units are used both with the US-made aircraft (A-10, F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, B-52, B-1B, B-2, F-22 and F-35), as well as by with European designs (Panavia Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Dassault Mirage 2000, SAAB Gripen). Other allies also have had their jets integrated with this type of bomb, here we are referring to the Korean A-50 or Japanese F-2 jets, as well as to the Su-30MKM aircraft operated by Malaysia. The latter jets, manufactured by the Russian Irkut company, have been tailored to carry the Mk-82 bombs coupled with the GBU-12 Paveway II guidance units.

Sailors on a US aircraft carrier mounting the GBU-12 Paveway II guidance units onto the Mk-82 bombs. Image Credit: US Navy

Mk-80 family bombs are a globally adopted standard, similar to the 5.56×45 mm ammunition. The RWM Italia standard-compliant certified bombs do not require the expensive integration to be carried out. This means that the bombs manufactured by the Nitro-Chem company could be used in case of any of the above-listed jets.

Polish Air Force would become the first user of the Mk-82 bomb units manufactured in Poland. The said type of armament is being used on the F-16C/D Jastrząb jets. Throughout the last 3 years, Polish military has ordered around 1300 bombs of this type. 

Bombs for the F-16 Jets to be Made in Bydgoszcz. Production Would Begin in 6 Months

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