Mar 13, 2015 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: Defence24.com Poland; published March 12, 2015)
Polish MoD: “Orka Submarine Programme Funding to Be Realized This Year”
The Polish Ministry of Defence has confirmed that funds to purchase new submarines are already reserved, but it is during the 4th quarter of this year, when the Ministry is going to start the analyses of options, that they will be used to launch the acquisition process.
Information related to the submarines was been published as a response to a parliamentary question (no. 30891) submitted by MP Artur Górski “…regarding the plans of the Ministry of Defence related to acquisition of three submarines for Poland, armed with cruise missiles”.
The ministry’s reply is highly significant in that, for the first time, the Polish Ministry of Defence has officially released information regarding the Orka future submarine project.
Which issues have been clarified?
Thanks to the response to the intervention, we now know that:
• Minister of Defence accepted the request submitted by the administrator of military equipment, regarding the acquisition of new submarines for the Polish Armed Forces on 27th September 2012;
• In the confidential document entitled “Plan of Technical Modernization of the Polish Armed Forces”, the Ministry of Defence’s budgetary assets are ring-fenced. These funds will be used to acquire the new submarines in 2015.
• “ORKA” programme is a long-term plan, funding of which is to be stretched out over several years until 2024;
• The Polish Ministry of Defence wants to acquire the new type of submarines armed with cruise missiles;
• Due to the plans of introduction of the cruise missiles, MoD is going to carry out additional analyses and arrangements, along with complementation of documentation, which are all going to be the basis for starting up the procedures. Analyses are to begin in the 4th quarter of this year;
• Despite the additional analyses and arrangements regarding the cruise missiles, the schedule related to procurement of the new submarines remains unchanged. “The first two submarines are planned to be acquired by 2022, the third one is to be received later”;
•„ In February this year, “offset assumptions related to acquisition of the new ORKA submarines have been developed,” the ministry said. According to these assumptions, a maintenance centre for the new type of submarines is to be created in Poland. The actions necessary will be taken to create a national potential for maintenance of technical readiness of the acquired submarines i.e. for servicing and carrying out repairs;
• The new submarines will be capable of “transporting troops that are not their crew members”;
• Training bundles, regarding preparation of the crew-members for service on-board of the submarines shall be included in the signed contracts;
• “The Polish Ministry of Defence is not planning to create a new special forces unit capable of operating with submarines. Existing special forces units, i.e. the Formoza, already possess such capabilities. Formoza’s operators are capable of carrying out special operations in water environment.”
• After the new submarines are introduced into service, the special forces will be trained in submarine operations in varied conditions, in accordance with procedures and techniques which are used by the special forces”.
What is missing in the Ministry’s response to the intervention?
• No estimated value of the order has been indicated – this would, according to the Polish MoD, reduce the room for negotiation of the Ordering Party in the planned procedure;
• No response has been made related to fusion of both procedures (acquisition of the submarines along with the cruise missiles);
• No response has been provided to the question, whether the government made any efforts to construct the submarines in the Polish shipyards, at least partially.
MoD has changed its approach towards the deterrence policy
The Ministry of Defence has changed its approach to the issue of equipping the submarines with cruise missiles, stating that “currently the basic task of the Polish Armed Forces is to defend the Polish territory. The semantic area of this term also includes military deterrence which shall be realized by demonstrating the readiness to defend the country with the existing forces. The new submarines will fall within that category and task.”
There is one more question – why it took so long for the Ministry of Defence to realize the fact that the submarines may be armed with the cruise missiles. Supposedly, a similar question was asked by MP Ludwik Dorn, leading Deputy Minister Mroczek to respond “Better late than never”.
The issue is far too serious to make fun of it – it shall be clarified why the plans of arming the submarines with the cruise missiles were sabotaged. And response to that question shall not be left in the shadows.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Reuters reported from Warsaw this morning that Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak “has asked the United States whether the European nation could buy Tomahawk missiles for its new submarines.”
Reuters quoted Siemoniak as saying on public radio that “One of the capabilities we want them to have is cruise missiles,” and he confirmed in a Tweet (see above).
France is also competing to supply submarines to Poland, in which case they would be armed with MBDA’s Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN) cruise missiles as well as sub-surface-launched SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles)