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

11 lutego 2019, 08:56
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GMLRS launch in Afghanistan Image Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/US Navy

Polish Ministry of Defence is going to acquire a HIMARS rocket artillery squadron within the framework of the Homar procurement programme. The procurement in question is to have a pricetag of USD 414 million which is a little over PLN 1.5 billion. The agreement conclusion has been scheduled to take place on Wednesday, and the deliveries are to be finalized by 2023.

Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, announced the price and the agreement conclusion date on Sunday, while visiting the 1st “Warszawska” Armoured Brigade, based in Warszawa-Wesoła.

– We’ve got it. We will sign the agreement on Wednesday, with the US Government, regarding the delivery of a HIMARS squadron for the Polish military, that, in a significant way, would expand our combat capabilities – the Minister announced. A conference is going to begin on Wednesday, in Warsaw, covering the matter of peace in the Middle East. The event is co-organized by the US administration. Vice-President of the US (Mike Pence) and US State Secretary (Mike Pompeo) are going to visit Poland on that date.

The head of the MoD also announced that Poland is going to pay 414 million dollars for the HIMARS squadron. Considering the current exchange rate this would translate into an amount of around 1.576 billion zlotys. The maximum possible transaction value announced by the US in November 2018 was set at the level of USD 655 million.

Błaszczak stated that the price is good: – This price is at least comparable, if not better, than the price paid by our allies from Romania – the Minister said.

Poland is procuring 20 HIMARS launchers. Romanian deal concerned more than 50 equivalent vehicles. Both agreements also concern the rockets and the required auxiliary equipment. In case of the Romanian deal the Americans suggested that the possible value of the agreement would equal USD 1.25 billion. After the contract was signed, the Romanian media announced that it had a value of USD 1.5 billion, VAT included. The value announced by the Polish MoD (414 million dollars) probably refers to a net amount.

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PM Mateusz Morawiecki and Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, at the Warszawa-Wesoła garrison. Image Credit: Rafał Lesiecki / Defence24.pl

The release issued by the Polish Ministry of Defence suggests that delivery of the HIMARS system would be taking place, in an ongoing manner, until 2023.

PM Morawiecki, who also attended the event in Wesoła, stressed the fact that modern Polish Army is also the Polish raison d’état, and thus, forming a strong military directly translates into heightened significance of the role that Poland plays, globally. We are on our way towards creation of a potential that would increase political, geopolitical and economic capabilities of the Republic of Poland – Morawiecki noted.

The Ministry of Defence has decided to acquire the US-made HIMARS solution, within the scope of the Homar programme. The order was sent to the US as an FMS procurement in October 2018. In July 2018 the Ministry finalized a negotiation procedure with the Polish consortium, initially led by HSW, 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. The MoD was planning to acquire three squadrons, while the current negotiation concerns a single unit. The remaining ones are to be acquired later on.

A ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in Warsaw on 13th and 14th February, concerning the peace and security in the Middle East. The US is acting as a co-host. The meeting is also going to involve the Israeli Deputy PM, Benjamin Netanjahu. Representatives of various European and Middle-Eastern states are also to come to Warsaw. However, the Iran’s representatives are not coming to Poland. The Iranian authorities consider the event to be targeted against them.

The DSCA (subordinated to the US DoD) announced it in late November 2018 that the State Department issued a consent, concerning the potential sale of the HIMARS system to Poland. The US Congress also did not oppose this deal. Since then, the parties involved were negotiating the price ad the final shape of the agreement.

The FMS acquisition procedure assumes that once the agreement is arranged, the Poles would receivee the unilaterally signed LOA document (Letter of Offer and Acceptance). This very document would be signed on Wednesday by the Poles.

According to the release issued by DSCA in November 2018, the Poles have received an approval for acquisition of:

  • 20 HIMARS launchers (1 squadron of 18 vehicles plus two training launchers);
  • 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 be used as the command platforms);
  • 24 AFATDS fire control system packages;
  • 20 LCRR training rockets, 6 rockets in each package (120 rockets in total);
  • communication systems package, training system package, maintenance support, spares etc.

The release issued by DSCA in November mentions the fact that no offset offer is tied to the potential agreement.

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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