Why Poland spends billions of dollars on weapons?
In recent years, for the same purpose – the modernization of the national Armed Forces to protect against its “insidious neighbor”, from which they now also require reparations – Poland has already acquired a large batch of American arms
As a result of much deliberation and coordination, and also, perhaps, after a careful study of the contents of her wallet, Warsaw finally agreed to support the American aircraft industry on the last day of January this year. concluded an agreement with Washington on the acquisition of a large batch of fifth-generation fighters, the delivery of which is planned to be carried out in 2024–2030.
According to the terms of the signed document, the Polish side agreed to purchase 32 F-35A Lightning II aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin and 33 twin-circuit turbojet engines with afterburner F-135 developed by the company Pratt & Whitney, which are installed on these combat vehicles.
These two U.S. companies are identified as the main contractors for the contract.
“The United States welcomes the decision of the Polish government to purchase 32 $ 4.6 billion F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales program overseen by the US Department of State,” said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in an official statement January 31 this year State Department Press Service.
The contract signing ceremony was held at the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin, which is also commonly known as the School of the Eagles and trains various specialists not only for military, but also for civil aviation. On the Polish side, the document was signed by Secretary of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, who then passed it, as the Associated Press points out, to the United States Ambassador to Poland, Jorgetta Mossbacher.
“The Polish Air Force is entering a new stage in its development. We are joining an elite group of countries with F-35s – aircraft, which are a kind of command centers and are notable for interoperability, ”Mariusz Blaszczak said in an information message posted on the website of the Polish Ministry of Defense.
“The F-35 is the world’s only fifth-generation multirole fighter. Its combat capabilities are unparalleled, and this agreement includes all future upgrades to the F-35. This is a unique investment for Poland and its allies. Congratulations!” – wrote, in turn, Georgette Mosbacher on Twitter account. As for the “only thing in the world” – this, of course, is a bust, even if we take into account the term “multi-purpose”, but forgive the ambassador for excessive emotionality on this solemn day for both sides.
From aircraft to technical documentation
It should be noted that the total cost of the contract given by the head of the Department of State includes not only the actual production and delivery of the indicated number of aircraft and engines to them, but also their maintenance during the warranty period; training of those pilots and technicians of the Polish Air Force who will have to deal with the operation of purchased fighters; the supply of training aids (in particular, at least one comprehensive functional or operational-tactical simulator is mentioned in the published information), electronic warfare equipment, communications and navigation, logistics support, technical documentation, etc. Means of destruction are not included here and will, apparently, procured additionally.
The materials of the American embassy in Warsaw also indicate that the conditions of the signed agreement provide for the possibility of future upgrades of aircraft or their individual systems so that “Poland’s ability to protect the airspace is always at its best.”
The supply of the F-35A batch and related equipment, as well as the provision of appropriate services, as noted above, will be carried out as part of the US Government’s Foreign Military Sales – FMS. Earlier, which is interesting, the State Department approved the sale of these military products and the provision of services for a larger amount – $ 6.5 billion. This was announced in a press release on September 11, 2019 by the Defense Ministry Agency for Military Cooperation (Defense Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).
So either the package of related services was reduced, or Warsaw still managed to bargain a very good discount, or she, as a faithful ally of Washington, committed to provide some counter services. For example, to allow the United States in the future to deploy additional troops, as well as weapons and military equipment, on Polish territory. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes of closed bilateral negotiations.
The reason for Poland’s multi-billion dollar purchase of American Lightning, as indicated in foreign media, was the need to build up the combat potential of its Armed Forces in order to protect it from its eastern neighbor, Russia. According to Polish politicians and generals, this cannot be done with old Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters, and there are clearly not enough 48 F-16C / D Block 52 fighters to defend against “aggressive Moscow”. So it was decided to purchase a new batch of more powerful combat aircraft, naturally also American ones.
“The supersonic multifunctional (fighter) F-35 represents a tremendous leap in the light of the possibility of gaining dominance in the air and is distinguished by increased combat power and survivability,” is emphasized in this regard in reference materials posted on the website of the US Embassy in Poland.
Billions into a retailer
“We highly appreciate the readiness of President Duda, the Prime Minister of the Moraveck and the Polish government to continue the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces by acquiring the most modern fighters in the world, which will increase Poland’s ability to provide collective defense and self-defense,” said Michael Pompeo in a statement. “We look forward to working with our NATO ally, Poland, on this project and further strengthening our long-term strategic partnership.”
In recent years, for the same purpose – the modernization of the national Armed Forces to protect against its “insidious neighbor”, from which they now also require reparations – Poland has already acquired a large batch of American arms.
So, for example, in 2022, Polish anti-aircraft gunners should start receiving two batteries of the Patriot PAC-3 + anti-aircraft missile systems, the purchase contract for which Warsaw signed on March 28, 2018. According to the document, the Polish military will eventually receive 16 launchers, 4 AN / MPQ-65 radars, 208 PAC-3 MSE anti-aircraft guided missiles and other related equipment.
All this cost the Polish military budget $ 4.75 billion. Moreover, interestingly, the permit for the supply of military products to Poland, which the State Department issued in November 2017, also featured a significantly larger amount – $ 10.5 billion. However, in this case, everything is simpler – initially permission was given to supply four batteries, but the too high price to be paid for them was unacceptable to Warsaw.
In the end, the volume of the “patriotic” order was actually halved, but it still remains the largest single-dollar weapon contract in modern history in Poland today. In the future, by the way, according to foreign sources, Warsaw may sign another contract – to supply an additional six Patriot batteries in an updated configuration.
Another contract for a large batch of US-made military products was signed by Warsaw in February 2019. We are talking about the purchase of a division of American multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) type HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, literally from English – highly mobile missile artillery system).
According to information posted in 2018 on the website of the US Department of Defense’s agency for military cooperation, in the framework of this transaction, the total value of which amounted to $ 414 million (the Department of State initially approved the sale of arms and equipment in the amount of $ 655 million), the Polish military will receive:
- 20 lightweight self-propelled launchers M142 on a wheeled chassis;
- 36 six-shot transport-launch modules with adjustable missiles M31 Unitary GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System), which are equipped with a single-unit warhead and, as stated, are intended primarily for hitting targets in urban and mountainous terrain;
- 9 six-shot transport-launch modules with adjustable missiles M30A1 GMLRS Alternative Warhead, which are equipped with the so-called alternative warhead;
- 30 operational-tactical missiles M57 Unitary family ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System, literally from English – “tactical missile system of the ground forces”), which are equipped with a single-unit warhead;
- 20 practical rockets LCRR (Low Cost Reduced Range, literally from English – “low cost”, “reduced range”);
- 24 sets of tactical fire control system for field artillery AFATDS (Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems);
- 20 M68A2 training modules, which are used as part of training and combat training activities of MLRS combat crews and allow you to practice loading, reloading and guiding the launcher, as well as the use of MLRS for various purposes within the framework of various tactical scenarios;
- 33 all-terrain vehicles M1151A1 HMMWV (High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle);
- other various equipment (support, communications, etc.), property and equipment (including “field” laptops), as well as spare parts and training services for personnel of combat and repair units and the necessary technical documentation.
It is noteworthy that, as in the case of the Patriots, this contract may perhaps become only the first stage, and at the second, possibly in Poland, the production of the American MLRS in a slightly adapted version will be organized. However, so far the negotiations on this issue have not been crowned with success and may even never come to a practical plane.
The list of armaments and military equipment acquired by the Polish military from the United States for today also includes air-to-surface (JASSM and JASSM-ER) and air-to-air (AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM) guided missiles, as well as other product samples military purpose. And Polish sailors in the early 2000s received from their American counterparts two used URF frigates of the Oliver Hazard Perry type (the abbreviated version of O.H. Perry is often used). Why they need them is not entirely clear, since earlier these ships were written off by the American admirals for their inconsistency with the requirements that the war at sea poses for this class of naval equipment. Of course, the frigates themselves transferred something like for free, but Warsaw, as it seems, could literally go broke on their maintenance.
At first glance, the arsenal received at its disposal by Warsaw from an American ally looks impressive. However, it should be clearly understood: taking into account the enormous military power of Russia, if it suddenly decided to commit aggression against Poland for some completely unknown fantastic reasons, then all the weapons and military equipment acquired by the latter would not help to repel this aggression. As well as the whole NATO bloc, of which this country is a member, will not help to do this, since any major armed clash between them will quickly develop into an exchange of nuclear strikes. With all the ensuing consequences, as they say. At the same time, Poland will get even more than other countries belonging to the North Atlantic Alliance.
However, if spending many billions of dollars on all these overseas “toys”, many of which have very dubious opportunities for the conditions of modern warfare (like old frigates from the Cold War, not in vain for their defenselessness, nicknamed wit “Oh, Perry!”), Plays role sedative for official Warsaw, then this is her business. More precisely, it’s the business of Polish citizens, whose taxes could go to much more useful programs for them. In addition, the purchase of the “most modern in the world” American fighters was carried out on a non-competitive basis, which already caused, as the Associated Press points out, a certain negative reaction among Polish opposition politicians who considered the price paid for the Second Generation Lightning to be too high. [end]