The fair in Kielce will be held in less than a month; we have a hot summer in Poland and the season is dead. I wonder if can say the same about the arm industry…
Due to the crisis in Ukraine, we can hear more and more questions about a modernization of Armed Forces. Of course, as always, the Polish government shares only an optimistic information – everything is under control. Unfortunately, the specialists’ opinion is completely different. According to them, only 10 – 20% of tasks were completed. In 2012 and 2013 the outlays for army were dramatically low. It was even admitted by Polish general – Waldemar Skrzypczak.
Even if there weren’t conclusions of contracts by means of tender, some people say that we already know the winners. One of the most famous producers will be responsible for the air defence and missile defence. In 1991, his missiles counteracted Iraqi Scud. The tender for helicopters will be won by a firm, which is planning to acquire the factory in Łódź, the contract for attack helicopters will be probably given to the German producer. It is also highly possible that the USA will be the provider of AR Drones. It isn’t completely clear, whether the USA will produce them independently or in cooperation with Israel. There are rumours saying, that there will be only one offer, as the internal Israeli competition will be pushed away.
In my opinion, we are going to buy huge AR Drones from the USA, after the last visit of Polish Minister of National Defence in Pentagon.
It is quite obvious who is going to produce Ubotwaffe – the name is a clue.
Either France or Netherlands will produce surface combatants.
Nevertheless all the completely different presumptions are worth mentioning. According to them the US will deliver helicopters, Polish National Defence supports Black Hawk. The ASW(Anti-Submarine Warfare) helicopters will be excluded from the tender, as this contract will be given to France as a compensation. The French can be even a provider of submarines transporting deterrence weapons, in favourable circumstances. There is only one question remaining: will be the 300 km ranged weapon delivered to us at all?
Our brave army would like to report even tomorrow, we already have new equipment, ready to shoot down the enemy’s Iskanders. They would like to do the same regarding the rest of the equipment. The army would like to buy new toys and announce, that the modernization has been completed and finish the whole action saying they will buy whatever is missing. Unfortunately, nothing will happen that fast. There aren’t any Patriots ready for use. The Patriots, withdrawn from Germany, will be sent to the Syrian- Turkish border. We will have any rocket launchers in one and a half year or even two years the earliest, yet as everybody knows, it can take even three years. The US producer seems to be confident of his victory, therefore he is focusing on the media campaign – Paris is attacked because of the Mistrals delivery to Russia, and we can observe many declarations of sharing the contract with the Polish industry on Twitter. Recently a letter of intent with the Teldat has been signed, hopefully it is the beginning of the investment in the Polish industry.
As I have already mentioned, such a situation can be depraving. If the contractor is almost confident of winning the tender, he is not opened to negotiations any partner from Poland. It means that Poland, represented by the Ministry of National Defence, is a weaker party in negotiations. Yet sometimes the arrogant and self -confident party is lost at the end, yet I do hope that the US producer will be opened to the fair cooperation with the Polish industry. This cooperation can’t be limited to the platforms purchase from Jelcz only.
Meanwhile, the French party is very active, presenting competitive cooperation offers, and the big, well known producer seems to be sleeping. He should wake up, as some prominent officers believe, that Astra 30 would be more suitable for the Polish army.
Unfortunately, the future scenarios for the Polish arm industry are not optimistic. Probably almost the whole military equipment will be purchased and the Polish industry will be providing some second – rate products and services.
I believe that maybe in case of the air defence the Polish industry will be beneficiary of the modernization program and I suppose all tenders will be closed before the Parliament elections.
As I have mentioned some time ago, all the offered equipment is very similar, therefore the winner should be chosen on the willingness of the cooperation with the Polish industry basis, as it should be the Polish industry to supply the troops, as well as it should be able to export some equipment. The main criterion of choice should be the supplier’s willingness to develop the products in cooperation with the Polish partners and to relocate a part of the production to Poland.
We should focus on modern products with the potential to develop; we have to forget about technologies from the previous century. It may protect us from “being a Negro”, what our Minister of Foreign Affairs said. The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has a chance to become the head of the European diplomacy.