Yesterday Antoni Macierewicz, Polish Minister of Defense, announced that Poland will buy 1000 drones for it’s army. He also stated that Poland wants to use it’s own resources to produce drones with the PGZ (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa) as the center company responsible for that task.
We don’t have any specific data about what drones will be bough but we can assume that there will be various types of them. From the smallest, tactical ones, up to large ones which could probably carry weapons as this is the trend we can observe around the world.
This brings us to a very important conclusion. There might be a push for the Polish defense industry which isn’t in very good shape right now and projects such as drones can boost new, in house, developments. The second important thing is that Poland will start to gain more “eyes” on the battle field. This is a key factor when you want to “stay in the game”. The army must have eyes to prepare and carry out it’s missions.
The demand is huge and if we have a closer look at the situation a number of one thousand drones might not be that big. If you spread that number for all the units it stops being so impressive. Today even small forces in the field use micro drones which are the size of a hand and we are speaking of platoon level or even lower. When we go higher we need bigger ones, with bigger range, longer flight capabilities etc.
Except the ability to see on the battlefield we also need to have strike capabilities and here comes the tricky part. It will be very hard for the Polish defense companies to provide such drones very fast. This opens up new possibilities for foreign systems which are on the shelf. The key factor is how many, and what type will the MOD want.
It is much to early to even guess as the news broke yesterday but we can safely assume that some attack drones will have to be bought as a replacement for the aging Su-22 which carry out ground attack missions. Replacing them with drones instead of new attack aircraft might be one of the possibilities discussed in the corridors of the Polish MOD. They are aging very fast and we can not use them much longer. Without them Polish Air Forces are to small to fulfill it’s tasks so a replacement is a must. I would prefer to have both – new aircraft and drones as this would free some resources from the F-16 which are in constant use which is growing bigger and bigger every year.
The challenges are big and we have to wait and see what will come up but one thing is for sure. Su-22’s and MiG-29’s wont fly forever and a replacement mus come fast.