The drone charge starts. The army is going on record purchases

The Ministry of National Defense has announced that in 2022 contracts will be concluded for the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the Gryf, Orlik and Gladius programs. These programs are already delayed, hence the comments that the Ministry of Defense did not have much love for this type of weapon. It will be different. In the coming years, the Polish army will become a drone power?

The first armed forces of 24 BSP Bayraktar TB2, which can perform air missions for up to 27 hours – with a maximum speed of about 220 km / h, armed with laser guided MAM missiles, will be delivered in 2022. Their deliveries will end by 2024.

Shortly before the end of 2021, Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defense, approved the contract for the supply of NeoX 2 mini-class unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), codenamed Wizjer.

The minister emphasized that the next stage was the procedure for the delivery of the Albatros short range tactical short-range vertical take-off and landing UAV. The preliminary offer submitted by Schiebel Elektronische Geräte GmbH is currently being assessed.

This is good news for the military, as well as the Polish defense industry, which announces that it is ready to produce all unmanned aerial vehicles – except for Zefir, but Griffin is.

The Griffin is a medium-range tactical UAV system for use at the division level, armed with rockets and capable of remaining in the air for more than 20 hours.

See also: The military will finally get mini-class drones, manufactured in Poland

The proceedings for Griffin were started in 2020, but were not initiated due to the need to update the documents regarding the assessment of the basic security interest of the state.

The Ministry of National Defense plans to acquire 13 UAVs for Gryf – in the years 2026-2035.

Marshmallow program

As part of the Zefir program, the Ministry of Defense intends to acquire the largest unmanned aerial vehicles of the MALE class. This was announced in the Sejm by Wojciech Skurkiewicz, secretary of state at the Ministry of National Defense, in February 2018. But a month later the armed forces withdrew from this program … Now he is back.

See also: Raytheon’s Block III Rocket Contract. Option for a Swordfish?

In the Zefir program, the military wants to buy 4 sets of the heaviest machines, armed with guided and unguided missiles, that can stay in the air for several dozen hours. They are to be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in 2028-2034.

However, it is difficult to say whether the purchase of 4 sets of armed Bayraktar TB2 drones will change the planned number of unmanned aerial vehicles. There may be much less of them …

Proceedings on Orlik

In 2015, the proceedings against Orlik started – canceled after a year. The delivery date is planned for 2018, while this year the military signed a contract with PGZ for PLN 789.7 million for 6 Orlik short-range tactical UAV systems (4 airframes each) with the option for 4 additional sets.

The consortium consisting of PGZ, WZL No. 2 and PIT-Radwar offered its own PGZ-19R system in this program. These platforms are designed for long-term reconnaissance.

They can perform tasks for 12 hours at an altitude of up to 5 km, at a speed of 120-180 km / h over a distance of up to 150 km, in various terrain and climatic conditions, day and night. In total, it would be 40 drones to be delivered to the military in 2022.

Search and shock systems

In the Technical Modernization Plan until 2035, worth PLN 524 billion, a novelty was a program code-named Gladius, which provides for the acquisition of unmanned search and strike systems, the so-called circulating ammunition.

Their acquisition is planned at the turn of 2021-2022. The military already has circulating ammunition produced by the WB Group – in special units and Territorial Defense Forces. In 2017, the WB Group signed a contract with the NIL military unit worth over PLN 100 million for a thousand Warmate mini drones. We only bought 100 …

There are three sets of FlyEye mini UAV drones in service. By 2020, the Territorial Defense Forces units also received another 3 modernized FlyEye sets (each with four airframes) for PLN 10.3 million. These drones can fly for at least 5 hours at an altitude of not less than 5,000. meters.

In 2018, a procedure was launched to acquire micro-class unmanned rotors in the Dragonfly program, intended for use in urban areas.

It was another approach of the Ministry of National Defense to this program. These are to be vertical take-off and landing drones with a minimum range of over 500 meters and a working time of over 15 minutes. The history of their acquisition dates back to 2014.

The smallest reconnaissance drones

In recent years, soldiers from the Military Commando Unit have also received from the UMO company in Zielonka near Warsaw 40 sets of the smallest micro-class reconnaissance drones (for PLN 14 million), weighing just over 30 grams and approx. 170 mm long.

So there are reasons to be pleased. This enthusiasm, however, is extinguished by the experience to date regarding the method of acquiring drones by the army, which does not fill us with optimism and makes us approach declarations about their acquisition with caution.

Hence the fears that the announcement of concentrated drone purchase contracts will not turn out to be only subsequent declarations. It is also not known whether the adopted solutions will satisfy Polish defense companies. The next few months will bring answers to these questions.

About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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