Defence24, 15 April 2017
The annual leadership briefing, involving the staff of the Polish Ministry of Defence and of the Armed Forces, also saw involvement on the part of President Andrzej Duda and Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Polish Defence Minister has outlined the priorities for the upcoming years. He has listed three of the most critical modernization programmes here: “Wisła” air defence system, “Homar” land-based rocket launchers and “Orka” submarines. At the same time, the MoD is to start the implementation of increasing the number of enlisted personnel, as after the year 2020 200 thousand soldiers are to serve within the Polish Army.
We assume that we will have more than 150 thousand soldiers in the Army until the year 2019, meanwhile, after the years 2020-2022, the Army would involve 200 thousand troops – as it was stated by Antoni Macierewicz, Polish Minister of Defence, during a conference summing up the briefing for the leadership of the Polish Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. To achieve the aforesaid goal, better funding and more effective funding for the Polish Army would be required. Following an approval and a conversation with the President, a relevant bill has been submitted and discussed with PM Beata Szydło – as it was added by the Minister of Defence. The aforesaid prospective Act is to introduce MoD funding at the level of at least 2% of GDP planned to be achieved during the given year, and not in line with the levels that have been reached during the preceding FY.
The Minister has also defined the three priorities of the modernization plan. The first one is to rapidly procure the “Wisła” air defence system – “Even though the talks are most advanced when it comes to our dialogue with Raytheon, and such agreement [with Raytheon] is going to be signed, undoubtedly we are not going to resign prematurely from talking to other manufacturers. – as Macierewicz stated, referring to the negotiation involving the aforesaid entity, concerning the Patriot system. Alternatively, Poland may be inclined to procure the international Medium Extended Air Defense System system, as talks with the MEADS International company are also underway. However, it was noted by the head of the MoD that he counts the contract would be signed this year, with the initial systems being delivered within a period of two years.
Another priority, as the Minister noted, is to acquire the “Homar” land based rocket system. Not only is the said solution going to have an ability to act as a rocket artillery system, as it is also to serve as a precise weapon, offering an ability to strike point targets at distances of up to 300 kilometres – here we are talking about ballistic missiles. The rivalry within the scope of this procurement procedure involves the US-made Lockheed Martin HIMARS solution, and another system, offered by the Israeli IMI Systems company.
The third pillar mentioned by Macierewicz refers to acquisition of three “Orca” class submarines for the Polish Navy. Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence would like the agreement to be signed by the end of this year – “This programme is going to provide Poland with security” – as Macierewicz claimed “If we also take establishment of cybernetic component of the Army into account, which has already been settled and which is going to be covered with an amount of PLN 2 billion, the said programme will provide us with an ability both to defend our country, as well as effectively collaborate with the NATO forces and with the US Armed Forces” – Macierewicz claims that this is going to be made possible thanks to making use of all the funds allocated to the technical modernization, similarly as it happened back in the year 2016.