Economic Undertakings

Miecznik program in final phase: two applications selected by the Polish Ministry of Defense

Missile frigate ORP Gen. K. Pulaski.

Photo. st. chor. sztab. Mar. Piotr Leoniak, bsmt Michał Pietrzak

The Armaments Agency announced that two best bids for the Miecznik frigate program had been selected. The Babcock Arrowhead 140PL (UK) and tkMS A-300PL (Germany) designs have qualified for the next stage.

As a result of the analysis effort undertaken, three design variants of the warship and the integrated combat system were evaluated, based on proposals submitted by foreign partners. The assessment was carried out on the basis of criteria of tactical and technical parameters of warships, their combat potential, the possibility of unification available for the acquired equipment with the existing inventory of the Polish Armed Forces, as well as the life cycle cost and retrofit potential. Three of the aforementioned warship platform designs that were qualified to participate in the program earlier include the British Arrowhead 140PL (Babcock), German A-300PL (tkMS) and Spanish F100PL (Navantia) frigates.

The Armament Agency noted that “the point difference of the summary assessment of all solutions was insignificant, while the selection of each would result in the acquisition of comparable operational capabilities for the Polish Navy, including the ability to pursue allied undertakings within the NATO framework, such as missions conducted within the framework of the Standing NATO Maritime Groups”.

Thus, a “first choice variant and alternative variants for the realization of the Miecznik project” were selected. As noted by the Armaments Agency, the most attractive offers were submitted by the German and British partners, while the difference in points between them was less than 5%. Another step would be to initiate negotiations between the PGZ-Miecznik consortium and foreign partners offering the warship platform and the ship’s combat system. It should be noted that the aforementioned consortium led by PGZ Group will be the prime contractor (also involving PGZ Warshipyard and Remontowa Shipyard). The foreign partner, meanwhile, would act as a subcontractor, hence the need to conclude a B2B contract.

The final conclusion of the B2B agreement by the PGZ-Miecznik consortium, involving an overseas partner whose solution is the designated first choice, would depend on the final terms and costs associated with the acquisition. Another aspect necessary for the conclusion of the definitive agreement is the adjustment of the conditions by the manufacturers, making it possible to meet the requirements imposed on the contractor, these requirements resulting from the reason for the assessment of the emergence of the fundamental interest of national security. This is directly related to the necessary transfer of technology and the establishment of industrial potential at the national level, in Polish shipyards and research facilities.

If no agreement as such can be reached with the participation of the first choice partner, the contractor – the PGZ-Miecznik consortium – will enter into discussions with the foreign partner whose solution has been designated as choice number two. As noted by the Armament Agency, the final designation of the warship platform, as well as the integrated combat system, would not be revealed until the negotiation is complete.

Another stage of the implementation is the preparation of the initial design of the selected solution and the development of the updated industrial feasibility study and techno-economic analysis. At the same time, a transfer of technology and know-how will begin, as well as the preparation of the Polish industrial means necessary for the launch of the manufacture of the Miecznik prototype, and of the combat system of the ship, the first warship of the series. According to the schedule adopted, the warships would start to be built in 2023, while the first ship should be ready in June 2028. Other deliveries would be finalized by 2034.

The Miecznik program assumes that three frigates are purchased, with anti-aircraft, anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities, with air warfare as the primary focus. The warships in question would replace the OHP frigates. They would also act as the Polish contribution to NATO’s standing maritime groups. Miecznik is the largest modernization program currently being pursued by the Polish Navy. The PGZ Group estimates that the three ships are worth 8 billion PLN. In practice, however, the cost in question can exceed PLN 10 billion.