According to Reuters, at the very end of June, the Polish Defense Ministry announced a list of contestants who will compete for its contract in the near future. The consortium, Eurosam, owned by the French company Thales and the European concern MBDA, and the American company Raytheon, are claiming a contract. In the near future, they should submit to the competition commission a package of documents on the proposed missile defense system. The order of the Polish Ministry of Defense is of great interest to the organizations participating in the competition. According to some data, the contract value will be 24 billion zlotys (slightly less than 8 billion US dollars). According to other sources, the potential order of the Polish military is more modest and will cost taxpayers about 5 billion dollars.
The Polish ABM construction program is called the Vistula. It is noted that in the course of this project, Poland intends to build its own missile defense system, armed with medium-range missiles. The task of the system will be to protect the state from the missile threat of third countries. At the same time, as far as is known, the Vistula system will not be a substitute or complement for the Euro-Atlantic missile defense system being deployed by the United States and Eastern European states. "Vistula" will be intended only to protect Poland.
Initially, four bids were submitted to the tender. In addition to the short-listed organizations, the Israeli company Rafael and a merger of American firms led by Lockheed Martin were going to take part in the competition. In all applications submitted for the competition, various ways were proposed to solve the tasks posed and to protect the specified areas from the enemy's ballistic missiles. The company Lockheed Martin offered Poland its new project of the air defense system and the MEADS pro, and Israeli specialists from the firm Rafael, in turn, intended to supply the slightly modified Sharvit Ksamim complex designed for their needs.
The official reason for changing the conditions of the competition was the recent events in Ukraine and the concomitant deterioration of the international situation. Responding to these events, the Polish Ministry of Defense stated that now, within the framework of the Vistula program, only those proposed projects that have already reached the implementation stage will be considered. Now the Polish military want to buy foreign missile defense systems, which are already being mass-produced and used by NATO countries. Raytheon and the Eurosam consortium have proposed such systems. The proposed project of Lockheed Martin, which is only planned to be created, as well as the Israeli missile defense system, which has not yet been adopted, dropped out of the competition due to non-compliance with customer requirements.
The second important condition of the competition is the participation of Polish enterprises in the development, construction and maintenance of advanced missile defense systems. Polish defense holding Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa should play one of the main roles in the new project. It is noteworthy that foreign participants in the competition are ready for this. For example, officials at the American company Raytheon expressed their approval of this demand and expressed hope for productive cooperation with Polish colleagues in the creation of new missile defense systems.
According to reports, the company Raytheon offers the Polish military anti-aircraft missile complex Patriot of the last modification, capable of destroying both aerodynamic and ballistic targets. There is no exact information about the proposal of the Eurosam consortium. Apparently, European specialists are ready to offer Poland one of their latest developments, which have already been tested and put into service, for example, the Aster anti-aircraft missile system currently used by France.
An interesting fact is that Lockheed Martin with the MEADS project does not intend to sit back. It is argued that in the event of a new change in the conditions of the competition, the American draft of the ABM system may again take part in it. For obvious reasons, it is not yet possible to talk about the resumption of participation in the competition, since too little time has passed since the last change in requirements.
According to current plans, eight launchers with medium-range interceptor missiles are planned to be deployed as part of the Vistula missile defense system. In the future, their number can be increased. In addition, the possibility of retrofitting the Vistula with short-range missiles, increasing its flexibility, is not excluded.
At the beginning of this year, the Polish authorities approved the proposal of the military to build their own missile defense system and provided funding for this program. The next few months will be used to finalize the projects submitted to the competition, analysis of proposals and summing up the results. The company, which, in cooperation with Polish specialists, will have to build a promising missile defense system, will be chosen at the beginning of 2015.
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