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‘The state is only as strong as its army’: Polish Armaments Group CEO’

“When purchasing equipment for the army, the Ministry of Defense always takes into account the capabilities of Polish industry,” representatives of the ministry assured, attending the Defense24 Day conference.

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On May 24, 2007, by the decision of Polish President Lech Kaczyński, a new type of Armed Forces was established – Special Forces. On this day since 2008, based on a decision issued by the Minister of Defense, the Polish Special Forces Day is celebrated. A Defense24 Day conference was held in Warsaw on Wednesday, where representatives of the Polish defense industry analyzed the sector’s development possibilities.

The head of the Armament Agency, Brig. Gen. Artur Kuptel, assured that the Agency always takes the Polish industry into account when making purchases for the armed forces. “The Armament Agency is responsible for the implementation of the technical modernization plan”.

According to Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) CEO Sebastian Chwałek, “The vision of a 300,000-strong, well-equipped army is not just a vision, it is already happening. The state is only as strong as the army, the army is only as strong as the industry, which is capable of securing the entire equipment maintenance cycle in a 30-40 year perspective.” He recalled that the purchase price is about 30 percent of the cost of maintaining a given type of equipment.

Production of the K9 cannon howitzers bought from South Korea is to take place in parallel with production of the Polish “Krab”, not in its place, which is expected to encourage heavy investment from the industry.

“In Poznań we will produce K2PL tanks, we have an appetite for the Wilk program,” he said of the readiness to participate in the Polish tank production program. “I think today the potential first cooperator is a Korean partner, with whom we are tied for 30-40 years of shared future,” Chwałek said, stipulating that the decision depends on the ordering party and its requirements.

“Poland also had its fairly mature designs. Of course, they did not meet with interest, because it was a period when the army was being abolished. We probably would have ended up without this army, we would have had to pay for external security. Fortunately, in 2015, the public decided that it was time for a change, and today we are building a powerful army, one of the strongest in Europe,” the PGZ president said.

“The heavy infantry fighting vehicle is another element we should develop. We have a concept, we will probably show a technology demonstrator in December,” he announced.

At the same time, on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak announced that Poland will order, as part of the long-delayed Orka Program, new-generation submarines capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles and modern torpedoes. This will be an opportunity for Polish shipyards, which have been producing vessels for the Navy for years now, such as the Kormoran series, jointly realized by PGZ Shipyard and Remontowa Shipbuilding.

Piotr Wojciechowski, president of WB Group, a Polish company that produces technological solutions for the defense sector, pointed out the war-related 15-fold increase in the production of Warmate circulating munitions and over 20-fold increase in FlyEye drones compared to 2021, as well as the surge in demand for weapons control systems.

In addition to production capacity, semiconductor supplies are sensitive to planning at the company.

“There is a war going on in Ukraine, there is also a technological war going on,” said Janusz Noga, president of guidance systems manufacturer Telesystem-Mesko. He stressed that modifications need to be made to equipment that has been used in combat so that it continues to be dangerous to the enemy.

He recalled that the Grom anti-aircraft sets were used in Georgia and “could not be left unchanged,” hence the next version, the Lightning, now being used by Ukrainian forces.

The Council of the European Union agreed in early May to support EUR 1 billion under the European Peace Facility (EPF) to enable member states to jointly purchase 155mm caliber artillery ammunition and missiles for Ukraine.

EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell, commenting on the agreement, indicated that it was another important step toward providing Ukraine with more munitions. “Ukraine’s Armed Forces need significant amounts of ammunition to defend the Ukrainian people and its territory,” he said. He added that “together with the earlier decision to quickly deliver ammunition from existing stocks, we are allocating a total of EUR 2 billion for this purpose, bringing the total EU military support to Ukraine to EUR 5.6 billion.”

The Polish arms sector could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the earmarked funds.

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