“Modern weapons for the Polish soldiers” - HIMARS Agreement Concluded

15 lutego 2019, 16:17
PENCE
Polish President Andrzej Duda and US Vice President Mike Pence with their spouses, meeting the Polish and American soldiers. Image Credit: Rafał Lesiecki / Defence24.pl

Mariusz Błaszczak (Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence) has signed an agreement with the US Government on Wednesday, concerning delivery of a HIMARS rocket artillery Squadron. Mariusz Błaszczak and Andrzej Duda, the Polish President, during the signing event, were both stressing the fact that the Polish soldiers will have a chance to utilize modern weapons now. Meanwhile, Mike Pence (the US VP) noted that HIMARS would reinforce the Polish-American cooperation, helping to protect the Central Eastern Europe.

Conclusion of the Agreement was a part of the meeting between the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda and the American VP, Mike Pence, and the US and Polish soldiers stationed in Poland. The event took place at the 1st Airlift Base in Warsaw.

Polish Ministry of Defence is procuring the HIMARS missiles from the US Government within the framework of the Foreign Military Sales procedure. As usual, the contract had been signed by the Americans and then it was sent to Poland. Thus, on Wednesday the document was only signed by the head of the Polish MoD.

Błaszczak was stressing the fact that it is an important date. – From now on the Polish military would have a right to have the most modern equipment at its disposal, Błaszczak said, adding that: This weapon will provide Poland with safety. This weapon will enhance the combat capabilities of the Polish military. It is a weapon that will contribute to securing of the NATO Eastern Flank, finally – the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Andrzej Duda, the Polish President, noted that not only would the HIMARS acquisition provide an added value for the Poland’s defence potential, but it would also reinforce security of the region within the European dimension. –It is an important event that falls well within the Polish Army modernization programme that has been announced and prepared since some time now – the President said. Duda emphasized the fact that HIMARS has been proven in combat as well.

I am very happy with the fact that the Polish military and the Polish troops will be able to serve fro protection of their homeland and of the free world using weapons that are so modern.

President Duda

 The President of Poland hoped that the new equipment would serve the Polish Army well and that the Polish military potential would be further expanded. I deeply believe that we will make further procurement and that we will be buying next elements of the armament, that would signify, indeed, modernization and infrastructural renewal of our Armed Forces. I am thinking of helicopters, I am thinking of more aircraft - fighters and airlifters. I am thinking about all assets that are so important on the contemporary battlefield – Duda said. President Duda also expressed his gratitude with regards to the presence of the US troops on the Polish soil.

Vice President Pence, on the other hand, stated that the US is happy to contribute to the Polish security by selling the HIMARS system. Pence claimed that the new, precise long range strike system in question would provide the Polish military with relevantly new capabilities also reinforcing the Polish-US collaboration and helping to protect the Central-Eastern Europe from missile and airstrikes for the upcoming decades.

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Andrzej Duda, the Polish President, during his speech. Image Credit: Rafał Lesiecki / Defence24.pl

 Vice President Pence, on the other hand, stated that the US is happy to contribute to the Polish security by selling the HIMARS system. Pence claimed that the new, precise long range strike system in question would provide the Polish military with relevantly new capabilities also reinforcing the Polish-US collaboration and helping to protect the Central-Eastern Europe from missile and airstrikes for the upcoming decades.

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Mike Pence, during his speech. Image Credit: Rafał Lesiecki / Defence24.pl

Read more: Poland to Acquire the First HIMARS Squadron. Pricetag: USD 414 Million. Agreement Expected on Wednesday

Polish Ministry of Defence is acquiring a US-made HIMARS rocket artillery squadron. Homar programme, within the framework of which the procurement is made, assumes that rockets with a range of up to 300 kilometres shall be procured. A few days ago it was announced that the value of the agreement is defined as USD 414 million net (without the tax). The deliveries are to be finalized by the year 2023.

The agreement concerns delivery of the first Squadron-sized units including 18 M142 HIMARS launchers (plus two training launchers), along with GMLRS (range of 80 km) and ATACMS (range of 300 km) projectiles, as well as the LCRR (Low Cost Reduced Range Practice Rocket Pods) training projectiles. Furthermore, the delivery would also concern command vehicles, ammunition carriers and recovery vehicles. The agreement also covers the logistics, training and technical support. The first squadron would come in a form that would be reminiscent of the one utilized by the US forces.

HIMARS (Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), is a system of wheeled launchers that allows for striking targets at distances ranging from 80 to 300 kilometres, depending on the projectile.

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Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

 Polish Ministry of Defence is procuring the HIMARS system from the US Government within the framework of the Foreign Military Sales procedure. This procedure also involves a notification addressed to the Congress, published by the DSCA. The aforesaid document mentions the maximum possible transaction value and the coverage of the contract. Then, negotiation begins, with regards to the final price and shape of the agreement.

In case of the Polish Homar programme, the DSCA announced it back in November that the contract would entail a pricetag that would not be higher than USD 655 million. As we know, ultimately the Americans would receive payment in an amount of USD 414 million.

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Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak signing the HIMARS agreement. Image Credit: Rafał Lesiecki / Defence24.pl

When it comes to what the MoD can buy for this Money, the November notification suggests that Poland has been authorized to procure:

  • 20 HIMARS launcher for 1 squadron consisting of 18 vehicles, and 2 training systems as well;
  • 36 GMLRS Unitary missile packages with explosive/fragmentation warheads, 6 rockets in each, 216 rockets in total;
  • 9 GMLRS Alternative Warhead rockets, with warheads designed to act against surface targets, 6 rockets each, 54 rockets in total;
  • 30 ATACMS Unitary tactical effectors;
  • 33 HMMWV vehicles (probably to serve as command vehicles);
  • 24 AFATDS fire control system packages;
  • 20 LCRR training rocket packages, 6 rockets each (120 projectiles in total);
  • Communication systems package, training system package, maintenance support, spares etc.
  • DSCA release issued in November 2018 also states that the contract shall not be accompanied by any offset proposals.

Introduction of the squadron fire module with multiple rocket launchers (aka Homar programme) into the inventory of the Polish Army is one of the main modernization initiatives envisaged within the framework of the 2013-2022 plan. Ultimately, the order was sent to the United States of America by the Polish Ministry of Defence in October 2018.

Earlier on, in July 2018, the Ministry had finalized a procurement procedure involving a consortium led, initially, by HSW, and then by PGZ. This also meant that Warsaw resigned from a concept assuming that the Polish companies working with a foreign partner (also the Americans) would deliver the Homar system. Instead, a direct procurement in the US has been made. The scope of the contract negotiated has changed as well. Originally it was planned that three squadrons would be procured, while the current contract concerns a single unit. The remaining units are to be acquired later on.

HIMARS is going to be acquired by Poland in a configuration which is almost identical to the one used by the US forces. The above means that the Polish squadron would be using a US-made C2 system, differing from the Polish Topaz solution which is dominant in the artillery/missile component of the Polish land forces.

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